Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: The Cooked Seed

About the Book:
In 1994, Anchee Min made her literary debut with a memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Red Azalea became an international bestseller and propelled her career as a successful, critically acclaimed author. Twenty years later, Min returns to the story of her own life to give us the next chapter, an immigrant story that takes her from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money, or a clear path. It is a hard and lonely road. She teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, keeps herself afloat working five jobs at once, lives in unheated rooms, suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces.But she also gives birth to her daughter, Lauryann, who will inspire her and finally root her in her new country. Min's eventual successes-her writing career, a daughter at Stanford, a second husband she loves-are remarkable, but it is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal.

My Comments:
I have a confession to make:  I'm utterly unmoved by these young semi-adults today who complain about their student loan debt.  In my opinion many of them just plain made bad choices--choices to attend expensive schools when cheaper schools were available, choices to pursue unmarketable majors, choices to spend their time partying and sleeping rather than studying and working.  Anchee Min came to the US with nothing and with practically no English.  She enrolled in an art college because they would accept her.  She worked five jobs at one time and lived in what most of us would consider squalid conditions. Like many other immigrants, she worked her tail off before she made it as an author.  Her story is inspiring.  Grade:  B+

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.


  1. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Thanks for this informative review. As someone who has a son graduating college at end of this year and going on to law school, I understand what you are saying. To come to this country and just make it from nothing is amazing and inspiring.

  2. I must say that biographies/memoirs have always been my favorite genre. I actually joined a book club to make myself read more fiction.

    Thanks for your review. I'll be putting this one on my list of potential books to read.

    Regarding your personal comment at the end: It brought back a stress that pops up here and there about my daughter's future. She'll be a senior this fall and we've started the college process. I REALLY don't want her to be one of those people you speak of. I'm not worried about partying and sleeping because she's responsible, however, she's an arty child, which presents a dilemma of following her passion or studying a (hopefully) sure thing. One thing for sure though, is that Momma and Daddy will not go broke in the process! :) And we will not let her assume mounds of debt.

    Thanks for the food for thought.


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