Bright Swallow, a young girl labelled as of 'bad origins' in Mao's Cultural Revolution, becomes motherless at fifteen in 1972. Determined to live a full life like her mother had known, she seizes every chance, creates choices where there appear to be none and finally has the world open up to her. The memoir distinguishes itself from other accounts of this period in being a story of hope. It celebrates resilience, the power of literature, music and the imagination; and pays tribute to the people who retained the fundamental decency that can easily disappear in adverse circumstances. Mao's China is now history, but similar dark regimes and mad ideologies still exist. There is much suffering from discrimination, humiliation and injustice at this moment. This is why this memoir has been written.