Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
Young Reader’s Edition
Just this week I had finished reading the autobiography novel, ‘Mao’s last dancer’ by Li Cunxin. I found the book to be a very interesting read as it was very inspiring and emotional. What I find most interesting is the fact that Li Cunxin published three editions of the book, a picture book edition, a young reader’s edition and a more advanced edition targeted at adults or mature teens.
Li Cunxin brings to us a simplistic yet very interesting and captivating autobiography. He writes the story so well that readers can step into his shoes and imagine out the adventure he took experiencing the many hardships and obstacles that Li needed to overcome. Because of this, I was unable to put down the book.
Li Cunxin was the 6th of 7 sons born to a poor family in rural China. When Chairman and Madame Mao started their “cultural revolution” and decided to revive the Peking Dance Academy, they sent representatives throughout the country to find promising musical and artistic talent specifically from the children of peasants, workers, and soldiers. Li was chosen at age 11, taken from his family, and sent to the “big city” for rigorous training to become a good ballet dancer. He overcomes homesickness, with lots of motivation and experience is able to over obstacles to eventually become a world-class ballet dancer.
I found the storyline to be very emotional yet inspiring. One of my favourite parts would be where Li was leaving the family. He had the choice to stay, or leave and build up a better future to later support his family. In this section of the book, there is a lot of tension and makes the reader want to find out what choice he takes.
Another part would be where Li finally reaches the milestone. With lots of hard work, courage and determination, Li was able to become a popular dancer known in American theatres. This part of the book really inspired me as it pretty much tells us how anything is possible a long as we work hard to earn it.
Something interesting about the book was the photos, it helped me to get an even better visualisation of the story and a better insight of how things were like for li throughout his young life. I’ve also watched the movie so that helped me even better to understand fully how his life was.
I felt like the book was different to other books that I have read because I was able to somewhat relate my life to it. Perhaps its because the author is asian, that my life is somewhat similar to Li’s childhood, but because of this, I’ve been able to learn how to overcome the obstacles in life.