This is one of several flaws that undercut Zhang's memoir. Among other things, she has a tendency to use quick cuts. She will jump from a recounting on one page into totally unrelated events on the next. This is even more irksome because, in doing so, Zhang often begins with the aftermath of events and then, a few paragraphs or pages in, finally take us to the events to which we have shifted. Similarly, Zhang's extensive use of Chinese idioms can be distracting at times. Whether this is simply cultural, reflective of an the intent to reinforce the "Chineseness" of the story or merely to show what such proverbs can encapsulate in a few words, their frequency seems to render them almost a crutch. Finally, there is perhaps an overemphasis on Zhang's sexual awakening and relationships, particularly for those who are more inclined toward the political or societal aspects of the memoir. That also contributes to various instances of turgid writing, such as, "I guided his hand down to my jade gate where a misty cloud had gathered."
These blemishes demonstrate Zhang's memoir clearly is not a Tolstoyian work. But it does take us to the level where that great author believed real change occurred. As such, "Socialism Is Great!" is an eyewitness account of momentous times in China by a relatively average individual who did not realize her own life reflected and contributed to history until after the fact.