I had such good luck pulling the two year old Kate Christensen ARC off my shelves, I went back to look around for more hidden gems. I had almost forgotten about Socialism is Great by Lijia Zhang, which came from Atlas & Co in hardcover.
In Socialism is Great Zhang tells what it’s like to work at a missile factory in a job given to her by her mother. She hates her job and struggles under China’s stifling state system. At the time China was undergoing a transformation of its own, opening up its borders and making reforms. Each chapter is sort of a vignette. She details how people tattle on one another to gain favor with those higher up and how the younger generation discovers music and literature as a gateway. The whole thing makes me so glad we’re not communist or at least their version of Communism. All the piddling rules—hair must be a certain length, the standard outfits, etc–make me cringe. And how they expected people to believe the party line. It seems like such a stupid system, just nonsensical. I know it’s more complicated than this, but the whole things just makes me want to roll my eyes. Zhang works hard taking extra classes and learning languages to get out of her cookie cutter life. I’m not finished with the book but I like how she goes against the grain. She rebels against the status quo as much as possible. I’ll see how it all turns out in these last pages.