House-sitting years and years ago I picked up a copy of Granta, the fiction magazine and read a gripping story of a young Chinese woman at a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution. The writer was the young Anchee Min. As time went on I read her other books, including the memoir Red Azalea and the historical novel Becoming Madame Mao. Finally Min has written the story of her coming to America, --through a series of events possible only through a combination of a massive spirit of determination, vast hard work, and a certain amount of strange luck.

My favorite thing about this excellent book is the way she paints America as simultaneously an amazing welcoming place, where true self-expression is finally possible, and also a capitalist consumer culture out of control, where kids can't help but become obsessed with their creature comforts and comparative standing. It's not always easy to see both at the same time, even though they are there.  #AncheeMin #TheCookedSeed #memoir  
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