Katherine by Anchee Min
<3 <3 <3
Summary: This novel, described by the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review as "nothing short of miraculous," is the story of Zebra Wong, a Chinese girl whose pragmatic mind conflicts with her passionate heart; Lion Head, her classmate, whose penchant for romantic intrigue belies his political ambitions, and Katherine, the seductive American with the red lipstick and the wild laugh who teaches them English and other foreign concepts: individualism, sensuality, the Beatles. In Katherine's classroom, repression and rebellion meet head-on-and the consequences are both tragic and liberating.
Review: The novel Katherine written by Anchee Min tells the story of a Chinese Girl "Zebra" living in China during the 1980's after the chaotic, and painful years of the Cultural Revolution in China during which the lifestyles of the rich were condemned and the peasants and the good of the people and modern knowledge were held up as the standard as well as Chairman Mao's teachings and beliefs. These philosophies led to many underground cruelties and a generation who was now living under a government who controlled almost every aspect of their lives, they were used to living in a restricted environment and with restricted emotions.
Into this world walks Katherine, an American in her thirties who has been married and divorced, who loves color, and dances to music and dares to speak her mind in a country where this is not only discouraged but it can get you arrested just to speak out against a party official. Zebra; and her friends quickly come to both admire and yet at times hate their new teacher for her outgoing ways because she is the opposite of everything they have been taught to be and yet they yearn to be able to feel and act as freely as she does.
With love triangles, arrests made in the middle of the night, and moments when you just want to cry along with the characters this is not a book that will lose your attention. The writing was a little choppy at times for my taste, but overall it was a good read.