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Publisher's Summary

At once a coming-of-age tale and a heart-rending love story, Wild Ginger explores the devastating experience of the Cultural Revolution, which defined Anchee Min’s youth. The beautiful, iron-willed Wild Ginger is only in elementary school when she is singled out by the Red Guards for her "foreign-colored eyes". Her classmate Maple is also a target of persecution. The novel chronicles the two girls’ maturing in Shanghai in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when Chairman Mao ruled absolutely and his followers took up arms in his name. Wild Ginger grows up to become a model Maoist, but her love for a man soon places her in an untenable position and ultimately in mortal danger. This slim and powerful novel examines the "fragile sensibilities and emotions of an entire generation of Chinese youth” (Washington Post) and brilliantly delineates the psychological and sexual perversion of those times.

©2002 Anchee Min (P)2013 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Wild Ginger

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Mao’s Young Zealots

Wild Ginger, the daughter of a French diplomat and Chinese mother, bears the burden by becoming a Mao devotee. Her friend Maple is devoted to her and tries to protect her. Their story is one of growing up during the Curtural Revolution. Great performance.

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An absorbing read/listen by Anchee Min

This read packed so much loss in a time of forced faith. A glimpse into the Cultural Revolution era in a Maoist China paints a raw picture of how life was a predicament even for young children. What impressed me was the characters varying drive and pursuit for acceptance and personal discovery. To "live" and love during such times was a gift that few could afford.

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Awkward love triangle meets obsessive Mao worship

I couldn't connect with the book's story, characters, writing style or narration. Perhaps I just didn't enjoy the story's plot line. It centers around a love triangle whose love for each other is based on their mutual obsession for their communist leader (so maybe that makes it an unrequited 4-way?) This leads to the destruction of themselves and those around them. The writing was very dry, telling rather than showing what was happening, this may be in part because it is written in the voice of one of the supporting characters, but regardless of the reason, it was boring to listen to. The dialogue was uninteresting and shifted jarringly between odd formality and slang. Largely the characters seemed totally unrelatable, there just didn't seem to be much humanity to them. Maybe this is the intended byproduct of communist devotion, but I rather suspect it was more a lack in creative writing. Additionally, none of the three or four sex scenes depicted anything close to a healthy interaction - the majority included some sort of coercion and/or attempted rape (in the name of love - which makes it more twisted). In the most consensual episode the two involved were quoting Mao to each other to increase their desire and both thinking about how they'd rather be with the third person (who wouldn't have either of them, which is why they were together in the first place). It was disturbing. Last, and least, the reader was only so so, I've heard worse, but she definitely didn't add anything to the performance. Maybe some of my critique of her could be blamed on the material she's reading, but her inflection didn't always seem to match what she was saying and her options for voicing different characters seemed limited and forced. In summary, I'd suggest skipping this one, I wish I had.

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Skip it!

Middle school level historical novel meets Harlequin Romance. I just listened to this since it was free (on 1.5 speed), but shouldn't have wasted my time.