Wild Swans by Jung Chang This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 25, 2009
“The more books you read, the more stupid you become.” This is a quote from Mao Zedong, former chairman of the People's Republic of China. It was just one of the unbelievable ideologies he unleashed onto the people of China. It's hard to imagine books were forbidden and culture abolished, but for Jung Chang, it was the norm.

Chang's grandmother and mother barely survived the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, which ravaged their chaotic nation. She was just a girl when she witnessed her parents' torment and despair during the Great Purge. Her mother idolized the Communist government until it began persecuting innocent people for no apparent reason, including her beloved husband. She might not have survived her brutal beatings if not for her mother, Jung Chang's devoted grandmother.

Wild Swans is a memoir about the author's incredible search for a better life and freedom from a violent world. Once I read the book, I understood what it meant to be creatively imprisoned and to be grateful for what I have compared to other less fortunate people in the world today.

Chang blends unbelievable real-life experiences of her grandmother, her mother, and herself in this memoir. The author was the first person from the People's Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British university. She ultimately decided to write Wild Swans to tell people what life was really like in the “utopia” of Communist China.

This book could be immensely valuable to anyone who loves history. However, it isn't a social studies text. It's the tale of three women making sacrifices for the love of their family and their freedom.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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