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Book Review: ‘Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East’ by G.X. Chen

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ForGetMeNotWhat a touching story. Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East by G.X. Chen is an incredible journey into the triumphs and tragedies of friendship, life, and love during the Cultural Revolution of China.

The story begins when Li Ling is told by his grandparents (who were raising him in Hong Kong) that he must return to live with his parents in Shanghai. At his new elementary school in Shanghai, Li Ling meets Zhang Lily and Liu Jiang-Guo (Big Head). Li Ling and Lily fall in love the instant they meet and the trio has a special friendship that endures a lifetime.

When the Cultural Revolution begins, their worlds get turned upside down and Lily and Li Ling are separated for 10 years. They are reunited at the university after the Cultural Revolution ends and their relationship grows and deepens. Fate separates them yet again when Lily is forced to transfer to another university and Li Ling leaves to study in the U.S. Twenty years later Li Ling gets word about Lily that will turn his life upside down one more time.

Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East is an amazing book. The horrific details about the revolution are mind-boggling. I had a hard time digesting some of the graphic descriptions of events because though this story was a work of fiction, you just know these and other shocking acts upon humanity were very real and occurred daily over a 10 year period. Chen does a phenomenal job relating the history of the Cultural Revolution and entwining the fear and dismay with a heart-twisting love story. The characters are distinct, in-depth, and loveable. I felt their pain even though in some instances I could not see how they even survived, let alone triumphed and even prospered, against all odds.

The ending is fabulous and bittersweet. Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East by G.X. Chen is a fabulous combination of history and romance.

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