Eighth Moon

Eighth Moon

The True Story of a Young Girl's Life in Communist China

by Bette Bao Lord
Publisher: HarperCollins
©1964, Item: 20031
Hardcover, 213 pages
Not in stock

Sansan was four when the Communists took Tientsin. She was seventeen when she left China in 1962. This is her story of the years between: how she lived, what she hated, whom she loved; a sturdy, stubborn girl's true record of an existence none of her readers has ever known.


by SANSAN, as told to BETTE LORD

Set Sansan down in the easy American world and she would stand forth as the kid sister no reader can resist: scrappy, mulish, vulnerable, doggedly loyal, scared and brave. In the bleak world that was really hers night and day, this staunch young creature is a darling and a delight.

Her foster parents were cold, unloving. It was Sansan who rose before dawn to stand in line for food, who chopped the fuel, cleaned the house, and washed the clothes. Throughout the year there were "volunteer" labor details: smelting scrap metal in a schoolyard furnace, carrying human excrement as fertilizer for the rice paddies. At school there was the constant problem of political acceptability, so that she learned to speak and act with quick-witted conformity, to dodge the denunciations of teachers and fellow students, to preserve the chance for more education and a future. Sick some of the time, hungry much of the time, her naturally stubborn character toughened in this crucible. Yet her humor and her essential tenderness were undiminished. All these qualities were needed when the time came for her to leave the only kind of life she had ever known to risk a hazardous passage to an unknown border to be reunited with her real mother.

Talking to her sister, Bette Lord, Sansan has re-created those years with such vivid intimacy that only after closing her book does the reader realize he has learned for the first time how six hundred million people are living today.

"Eighth Moon is worth reading just as an account of a little girl's world without the least touch of false sentiment and with all the sharp little truths and unexpected emphases of concern that make much of the charm of childhood. More than that, it is also an authentic Chinese existence gotten rarely well over into English. Most of all, it is a glimpse through clear, unbiased young eyes of actual life in contemporary China, the only such account I have found myself able to read with no doubts or reservations."
Richard McKenna, author of The Sand Pebbles

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