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It isn't necessary to read Palest Ink before SD but it gives a good background of Benfu. It reviews his teen years, how he got to the farm collective and details of his relationship with his best friend, Pony Boy. All these experiences mold him into the man he became, to have compassion and the big heart that allowed him to welcome abandoned girls. He meets Callie but because she is not welcomed by his parents he decides to become his own man, which in China, denying family is a very hard thing. Enjoyed the book very much, again it has some hard parts to read regarding the cruelty of Mao on his own people, but at the same time how thru fear, these same people are totally devoted to him even coming to turn in their own family. Don't think its quite as good as SD but nice to have Benfu's background.
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