The Cooked Seed: A Memoir by Anchee Min (PDF)



Ebook Info

  • Published: 2013
  • Number of pages: 369 pages
  • Format: PDF
  • File Size: 2.00 MB
  • Authors: Anchee Min


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.

User’s Reviews

Reviews from Amazon users which were colected at the time this book was published on the website:

⭐Red Azalea, Anchee’s first memoir, captured my interest and it never flagged. So it was with The Cooked Seed, until, that is, the lengthy narrative of the live-in relationship with Qigu. I bogged down at this point and lost interest while i read a number of other books. Dis-functional relationships are sad, common, and transcend all cultures. In my view, the reader should be spared. If it is substantively important to the memoir, an abbrieviated or summary version could be used.That aside,I find reading Anchee Minn very enjoyable and highly profitable as a window into totalitarian Communist China which cooks it’s collective seed on an industrial scale.I have picked-up the Cooked Seed again and am determined to slog through the Qigu relationship to more interesting material—but i was ready to abort the read entirely.A couple of months have passed since i wrote the above. I understand, now, why the author wrote at length about her life together with Qigu. First, she was with Qigu almost a decade and eventually married then later divorced him. Second, she had a daughter, her very heart, with Qiqu. Never-the-less, i skimmed and leap-froged over this section unable to suffer with the author. It was too painful because when, at times, Qigu acted like a knuckle-head and a jerk, i’ve been there and done much the same in my own history and it haunts me still. When she met Loyd, everything wrong became right for them both. It was pure pleasure to read to the end.While Anchee is an extremely perceptive and rock-solid practical “Chinese” mother and wife on one level,(much beyond the average or above-average parent in contemporary America in my opinion) she may not understand that herreal struggle has always been on the spiritual level which was out-working on her material and physical existence. I pray that she encounters the risen Lord Jesus Christ, her Creator and Redeemer who has loved her and gave His life to reconcile her with her God.As a reader, I am beyond grateful for Anchee’s honesty and integrity, always telling the truth, no-matter how painful and easily avoided it was. This is so rare in our culture as to be virtually non-existent. Truth has become hate speech and the enemy in our own cultural revolution and increasingly totalitarian America. In addition,I am sooooo very grateful for Anchee’s exposition of her woman’s mind and rational. Women have always been a complete enigma to me. Now a bit less so. I wish that i could meet her, Loyd and their daughter.

⭐I enjoyed this book for several reasons. It’s interesting and an easy read. Also, the author is unusually open about her feelings and actions, even when they might be perceived in a negative way by the reader. Most important, it was the first book I’ve read which details the experiences of a Chinese immigrant from her own perspective. It begins a few years before Min’s arrival in 1984 as a student in Chicago and reveals how she struggled to survive in this country over the next 30 or so years. It ends with her grown daughter urging her to write this memoir, explaining it’s her “duty” to share her experiences with other women who were “trapped in a similar situation.”Since taking a trip to China 3 years ago, I have been part of a 4-member book group interested in learning more about China. We’ve read quite a few books, by both Chinese and Western writers, mostly about life in China during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Before reading The Cooked Seed, we all read Min’s first book Red Azalea, which I particularly loved. Red Azalea details Min’s life as a teenager on a collective and later as one of Madame Mao’s potential movie “stars” during the last days of Chairman Mao’s China. It amazes me that Anchee Min could have written such a revealing and poignant memoir as Red Azalea, considering her struggles with the English language which she reveals in The Cooked Seed. Kudos to Ms. Min (and her editor). One more point. In China, Min was looked upon as “a cooked seed” with no chance of sprouting. In her adopted country, she not only sprouts, she blossoms into an exceptional addition to our literary tradition. I can’t wait to read her other work.

⭐Once upon a time, I had a vague idea that I grew up poor.. Then I read Angela’s Ashes and never again thought I was poor.Once upon a time, I had a vague idea I had worked hard from time to time. Then I read The Cooked Seed and again, my view of myself was redefined completely.Anchee Min came to the US on the wings of a lie and stayed here by clawing her way to a green card through amazing determination and hard work. Really hard work. And here is her story, told in brutally honest detail. I do not feel she tried to paint herself in a better light, as one would be sorely tempted to do in a memoir. There are times her flaws are glimpsed, and other times when they shine through. But this makes this autobiography that much more interesting to me. She is a person who has done the best she can with what she has–indeed, I think she does better than most of us would. She has survived many traumas and hardships, and yet she still loves China and the US, neither of which were particularly nice to her. She is the opposite of our current culture of blaming someone else. She does not waste time blaming, but moves on. Sometimes, she might have been better served if she had pressed charges, made accusations, etc. But this is not who she is, or how she things, for better or for worse.

⭐I enjoyed this tale of a young woman’s escape from Maoist China and relocation to America, her struggle for a green card, getting on the property ladder, getting published (this brought tears to my eyes) and finding love and marriage. The early tales of Amchee Min’s beginnings of hardship endured and overcome were the most arresting for me though as the difference to my own beginnings were materially and sociologically so different. Many of Amchees ensuing difficulties in Chicago did not seem to me to be so exceptional however as there are many hard working people who have fluent English who suffer from penury and urban loneliness. There are also many solitary people without families or state to help them.

⭐Quirky, unbelievable autobiography. Having just come back from China, with an awakened awareness of what life has been like there, I was delighted to fine this story of Anchee Min’s view of the China she left, and how it feels to make your home in a country you’ve been taught to despise.

⭐I have never read Anchee Min before, but now I am a avid fan. She brings the trials, tribulations and finally happiness of a Chinese immigrant to America to life, vividly and realisitically

⭐Brilliant! Anchee Min tells a very personal story of her migration to the USA in a way that is moving and exciting.. You must read it – it’s a gripping book.

⭐Heard extracts from this fascinating book on radio 4 ,thought it may be worth a read,very popular book at that time ,but ordered via amazon arrived in great time ,great book


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