My Name Is Number 4

My Name Is Number 4

A True Story From the Cultural Revolution

Book - 2008
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"Number Four will have a difficult life."--these are the words that were uttered upon Ting-xing Ye's birth. Soon this prophecy would prove only too true. This is the true story of the fourth child in a family torn apart by China's Cultural Revolution. After the death of both of her parents, Ting-xing and her siblings endured brutal Red Guard attacks on their schools and even in their home. At the age of sixteen, Ting-xing was exiled to a prison farm far from the world she knew. How she struggled through years of constant terror while keeping her spirit intact is at the heart of this story. Haunting and inspiring, Ting-xing Ye's personal account of this horrific period in history is one that no reader will soon forget.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2008
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780312379872
Branch Call Number: 921 Ye
Description: 230 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: My name is number four


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Jul 12, 2015

The description, the School Library Journal review and KatAMP's comments are right on. A few interesting details I remember they don't mention are how when Ah-Si was only 14 she and her friend disguise themselves as Red Guards and then board a train to go to Beijing from their native Shanghai to attend a political rally and see Chairman Mao. This was free for all Red Guards it apparently required no Identification papers their fake Red Guard uniforms were all they needed. Because Ah-Si's father had owned a factory she was disqualified from actual membership in the Red Guards. The train they boarded was already completely jammed with young Red Guards but they managed to squeeze in through the windows with help from the Red Guards inside pulling them. I found it cute and endearing that Ah-Si who was small for her age was able to fit nicely into the overhead luggage rack since there was no room even to stand below. She slept comfortably most of the trip the only one on the train able to lay down.
The whole trip was an amazing adventure for such a young girl, you'll enjoy reading it very much.
Later as she endured the hardships of the prison farm it become so unbearable for her there she was ready to commit suicide by drowning herself. Only the sudden memory of having seen a drowned dead body stopped her. She remembered how horrible the bloated body looked and decided she didn't want that to happen to her body.
I have never seen the body of a human drowning victim but I could imagine well what she described because I once saw a dead bloated rat on a beach it was unbelievably huge from being bloated and completely hairless and a revolting blue gray color. In spite of what she was going through it is no wonder that Ah-Si didn't want to end up looking like that.
I learned a lot from this book and can recommend it wholeheartedly.
A good map of China indicationing all the places mentioned in the story would greatly improve the book.

Jun 20, 2012

This memoir does a beautiful job of breaking down the author's experience as a part of China's Cultural Revolution in a way that is neither preachy or over-complicated; it is an honest, genuine telling of the author's experiences, well-written and easily accessible.


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Jul 13, 2015

bookishbee thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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