Thursday, January 31, 2013

Really Enough: A True Story of Tyranny, Courage and Comedy by Kathleeen Martens and Margaret Zhao - 2012 Sharp Writ Book Awards Winner: Memoir / Biography

From the Sharp Writ Book Awards judges:

  • I loved this book! I read it straight through in one sitting. It was as good as Lisa See's Shanghai Girls! I hope there is a sequel. 
  • This book is an absolutely fabulous memoir. The story this woman has to tell is riveting and the book is hard to put down.  Wonderful!  A good example of a memoir that works on both levels (the story and the writing). 
  • This is a brilliant book - had to read it in one go. It showed how a child and her family survived the Chinese Revolution and how that child self taught herself English and eventually moved to America. Her humor lightens what was a horrific time for many in China. Well worth reading.

Review submitted by author:

This astonishing, intimate memoir by Margaret Zhao with Kathleen Martens charts one young woman’s daunting struggle for survival, freedom and forbidden love while exposing the shocking lives of the Enemies of the State under the tumultuous rule of Chairman Mao. Set against the backdrop of a China in chaos, Really Enough is a relatable and touching celebration of rising up against all odds.

Born into a disenfranchised family in rural China in the 1950s and branded an Enemy of the State, Margaret Zhao quickly learned her abject lot in life. With Chairman Mao Zedong’s new Communist Party policies—virtually hidden from the world’s eyes— innocent, affluent families like the Zhaos were punished as evil capitalists and remnants of the feudal past. Empowered by her determined mother in a world of burning books, this passionate daughter of a long line of ancient scholars secretly set out to carry on her illustrious family legacy. Clinging to the power of humor in humorless times when the pursuit of learning from the past was a crime against the state, Margaret used her wits to capture unimaginable dreams. And when a forbidden love with a “foreign devil” raised the stakes even further, what emerges is a testament to the human imperative to be free, and to the redemptive, rallying strength of women and the oppressed everywhere.
Readers interested in true-life accounts of survival, freedom, strong mothers, immigrants rising, and interracial romance will be enthralled by this exquisitely written, relatable story of determination and hope. With heart, humor, conviction, and the uplifting power of learning, Margaret’s personal triumph will embolden you. Her indomitable spirit is contagious—you will laugh, you will cry, you will be inspired. Really Enough will write itself into your heart.

1 comment:

  1. I have read this book,and it is the best book I have read in a very long time. It is sophisticated written, and the story flows, which is great considering that English is my second language. I never remember neither names nor titles, however, this is a book I will never forget. I believe that many people will find themselves reflected, somehow, in the story, not at the same degree of struggle, but the character and desire to press forward. I surely felt identified closely to the protagonist. I have not had the harsh life that Margaret Zao did, but I have surely have had my challenges and obstacles in life that with great determination I have been always able to conquered, just like Margaret, although her obstacles were much greater than mine.
    Everyone should read this book, it is inspirational, and heat touching.