If Min Li did everything right, she never would’ve survived in the fast-changing world of modern China. Growing up in the countryside, Min Li knew that doing well in school could change her family’s history and end the abject poverty in which they lived. But Chinese custom dictated that she obey her father who sold her into a marriage with a boy who had twice attempted to rape her. If she obeyed her father, not only would she remain in poverty, but she would have suffered abuse the rest of her life.
Secretly helped by her mother, Min Li fled the countryside and took her chances in the big city without the permission of the government or her family. Here, she learned to be independent and to rely on herself. But that independence came with a price, and Min Li came face to face with the conflict between traditional Chinese society and the trappings of modern China, including corrupt government, organized crime, and even human trafficking. Trapped in the Middle East, Min Li became an unwitting victim only to be saved by the most unlikely of heroes, an American teacher whom she once loved twenty years before in China.
One cannot read a newspaper today without seeing something about China, its growing threat to world peace, the political turmoil of recent purges, the mushrooming growth of its upper class, but we rarely read about the Chinese people, the average Chinese citizen struggling to survive in the slums and block apartments of its titan cities and the poverty of the countryside. We read rags-to-riches stories, but we know nothing of the people who consider success as merely being free of tyrannical employers and bondage to a small plot of land. Min Li’s Pefect Place is the story of Min Li and her quest to live a comfortable life in a system that still keeps women under the yoke of their fathers and husbands.
Min Li’s Pefect Place can best be described as literary fiction, but it is truly historical, albeit recent history. Just under 86,000 words, I’ve included a glossary of Chinese names and words that appear throughout the book. There is nothing sexually explicit in the book, and I’ve refrained from using any English vulgarity, which I believe contribute to the wholesome attitude of the main character and makes it suitable for school libraries.