Synopses & Reviews
The summer of 1972, before I turned nine, danger began knocking on doors all over China.
Nine-year-old Ling has a very happy life. Her parents are both dedicated surgeons at the best hospital in Wuhan, and her father teaches her English as they listen to Voice of America every evening on the radio. But when one of Maos political officers moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust and hatred, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbors, and soon, for herself and her family. For the next four years, Ling will suffer more horrors than many people face in a lifetime. Will she be able to grow and blossom under the oppressive rule of Chairman Mao? Or will fighting to survive destroy her spirit—and end her life? Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
"'Picture book and cookbook author Compestine (The Real Story of Stone Soup) turns to 1972 China as the setting for her first YA novel. Eight-year-old Ling, the spunky daughter of two doctors, lives in Wuhan, China; dreamy and idealistic, she often describes her world in metaphor (about her neighbor, Ling notes, 'Mrs. Wong was fragrant and warm like a red peony, which always welcomed visitors'). But the lives of Ling and her family are disrupted when Comrade Li, an officer of the Communist Party, moves into their apartment. Difficulties mount as friends and neighbors disappear, Ling's father is arrested and she endures vicious tormenting at school because of her 'bourgeois' background ('At times I wished my family was poor and my parents worked on a vegetable farm... so I could have friends. But if my parents worked on a farm, who would treat their patients?'). Although her father has been jailed, her family starved and their books burned, Ling fights to keep her long hair, a symbol of dignity and individualism to her, though her classmates see it as emblematic of Ling's 'privilege.' Ling survives on wit, hope and courage until the death of Chairman Mao, after which she and her mother have a joyful reunion with Ling's father. Readers should remain rapt by Compestine's storytelling throughout this gripping account of life during China's Cultural Revolution. Ages 10-up.' Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)"
"This novel will introduce children to a time and place likely to have an exotic allure, while Ling's affection for her father and slightly tense relations with her mother humanize her and help readers empathize with her plight." School Library Journal
"Compestine does a good job giving young YA readers a realistic picture of what that period of history meant to individuals caught in the political nightmare." KLIATT
Nine-year-old Ling is very comfortable in her life; her parents are both dedicated surgeons in the best hospital in Wuhan. But when Comrade Li, one of Maos political officers, moves into a room in their apartment, Ling begins to witness the gradual disintegration of her world. In an atmosphere of increasing mistrust, Ling fears for the safety of her neighbors and, soon, for herself and family. Over the course of four years, Ling manages to grow and blossom, even as she suffers more horrors than many people face in a lifetime.
Drawing from her childhood experience, Ying Chang Compestine brings hope and humor to this compelling story for all ages about a girl fighting to survive during the Cultural Revolution in China. Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Drawing from her childhood experience, the author brings hope and humor to this fascinating story of a young girl growing up and fighting to survive during the Cultural Revolution in China.
Ying Chang Compestines pseudo-biographical story of growing up during the reign of Chairman Mao is a beautifully written, compelling story of a girl with the courage and determination to resist conformity.
About the Author
Ying Chang Compestine grew up in China and now lives in Lafayette, California, with her husband and son. She is the author of several picture books and has written three cookbooks for adults. This is her first novel.