A gem of a read! Totally absorbing story of a young girl growing up in China just after the Cultural Revolution. We live with Taotao through the death of Chairman Mao and the following years of increasing enlightenment up to the terror of Tiananmen Square. Eye opening stuff!
The school was just around the corner, an on my first day I was accompanied by Gugu. We had to walk past a goose kept by a neighbouring family. As I walked by it, the goose eyed me leisurely, as it had all the children before. I knew it had killed them all and I was afraid. Gugu left me with thirty other children and Teacher lee. The classroom was square with a big blackboard at one end, above which hung a portrait of Chairman Mao. This one was the biggest I had ever seen. Chairman Mao smiled down at us benignly and I felt at ease. His lips looked too red, as if he was wearing lipstick. Teacher Lee... started taking the register. "Red Army, Patriotic, Red and Handsome, Small Soldier, China Blossom, Born in Beijing, Love the People, Peaches" She looked up and the whole class burst into laughter. I knew there was something wrong with my name. The teacher continued, "Red Army..." She frowned. There were two rRed Armys in my class. She decied that one had to be called Big Red Army and the other Little Red Army according to their height.