Anchee Min reveals her life history in memoir
Min, whose first memoir, “Red Azalea,” told the story of her youth in China growing up under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong and introduced many to the true horrors of that regime, picks up here where she left off. It’s 1984, she’s 27 and on a plane bound for Chicago with a $500 loan in her pocket, no understanding of English and only a vague plan to study art.
After Mao died and his wife was overthrown, Min was quickly discarded by society, considered “a cooked seed,” one that would never sprout. Like generations of immigrants before her, Min bore her family’s burden of heading to America to save herself and rescue them all from a life of poverty.
With that heavy weight on her shoulders, Min faces unbelievable hardship, financial challenges and just plain rotten luck.
Min’s writing is as beautiful and compelling as always here, and as we learn how she taught herself English - how else, but by watching televsion - and later how she finds her literary voice, her talent is even more astounding.
The only time the narrative peters out is when Min goes into too much detail about her American, Vietnam veteran husband. I found myself wanting to know less about him and more about her and her feelings for and her relationship with him. But, overall, “The Cooked Seed” will hook you and stay with you for a long time. AP
The Cooked Seed: A Memoir
Author: Anchee Min
Publisher: Bloombury USA
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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