The Kite Rider
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The story, set in 13th century China, concerns a boy named Gou Haoyou. His father Gou Pei, a seaman, is forced to fly on a wind-testing kite by first mate Di Chou. Gou Pei is killed, and Great-uncle Bo, the head of the Gou family, arranges for Pei's beautiful widow, Qing'an, to marry Di Chou. Haoyou and his cousin, Mipeng, get rid of Di Chou and in the process Haoyou flies on a wind testing kite. Miao Jie, who runs the Jade Circus, notices Haoyou's impressive feat, and offers him and Mipeng a position in the circus as a kite rider and Medium respectively.
Haoyou and Mipeng join the circus, and begin traveling to perform for money for their family.
Haoyou: very obedient, oblivious and trustworthy. Mipeng: very smart and witty. Qing'an: Beautiful, Haoyou’s mum Pei: Haoyou’s Dad, poor sailor. Bo: Haoyou’s uncle and leader of the family. Mo: Haoyou’s aunt. Miao: Head of Jade circus, Marries Mipeng. Di Chou: Alcoholic, mean, tries to marry Haoyou’s mom.
At the beginning of the book Haoyou is excited to finally be shown what his dad does for a living (he was a poor sailor). After a little tour Haoyou is separated from his dad because one of his co-workers starts fighting him and throws him off the ship. Then Haoyou’s dad is taken and is forced to be the wind tester. (a hurdle tied to the end of a rope and sent to fly in the breeze). His father was tied to a giant kite that was in turn tied to a hurdle to be sent into the sky. As it was sent into the sky it was vigorously and aggressively pushed and pulled back and forth. So hard in fact that Pei (Haoyou’s father) died from a heart attack during the testing. After his dad dies Di Chou tries to marry Haoyou’s mom. (women were not given the choice of marriage, you were to ask the leader of the family, Great Uncle Bo). Then Di Chou burns their house down Haoyou, Haoyou’s mom and Haoyou’s sister (Wawa) have to live with their Great Uncle Bo. So then Bo says yes to the marriage because they need money. Then Haoyou and Mipeng stop the marriage by finding Di Chou drunk and making him take a voyage with a boat that leaves for months. But in order to do so they need someone to test the wind. So Haoyou gets on the kite and goes into the sky and somehow manages to survive. Everyone is so excited because no one has ever survived and they think the voyage will be amazing so they leave and take Di Chou with him so in the morning the next day, the wedding is off because they cannot find the Di Chou. A day after the wedding a mysterious man comes into Bo’s house and says he wants Haoyou to work for him in the circus because he saw him riding the kite the previous day so Bo gets mad at Haoyou but the circus leader (The Great Miao) says he will pay Haoyou and Bo agrees for the circus man to take Haoyou but Haoyou asks to take Mipeng with him (her being a head person) for spiritual support, so The Great Miao agrees and takes both off them to the circus. When at the circus Haoyou and Mipeng travel the world and Haoyou becomes semi-famous and he eventually rides his kite for the mighty Kublai Khan. After performing for the Khan Uncle Bo comes with only Auntie Mo. When Haoyou asks where his mom and sister is she says, “in good hands”. After months of kite rider Haoyou’s left eye is damaged very badly and he is now half blind. After Haoyou gives Bo all of his money that he made in the circus Bo goes and spends it all gambling. So Haoyou travels back to his home to find his mom and sister. He finds his mom working in a very bad bar where people go to get drunk on pure alcohol. His mom shows him where Wawa is and they leave and go back to Bo’s house. Then Mipeng and Miao (now married) came to Bo’s house to where Bo started came back and said that Haoyou should continue kite rider for money (when it would kill him) and Haoyou says no so Bo starts to choke Mipeng who is pregnant, until she bleeds from her neck only for him to stop when Haoyou said he would kite ride again. So they all went to sleep and all of them but Bo left during the night and joined back with the Jade circus where they worked for the rest of their lives and Bo lived alone for the rest of his life.