Apzmarshl's Reviews > Mao's Last Dancer

Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
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Nov 13, 2009

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Recommended to Apzmarshl by: Kristine Gunderson
Read in November, 2009 , read count: 1

3.5ish. Loved the info...but there were honestly some boring parts.


Under the crushing poverty prevailing throughout China during Mao's communist reign, Li Cunxin's life began. He was one of seven boys born to peasant parents in a commune called Quingdao. With newspaper to cover the walls, tickets to purchase water, scant amounts of food, and no plumbing, Cunxin grew up in a very loving family. At eleven years old, communist leaders came to his school and chose him to begin training as a dancer. Ballet combined with other forms of dance were being used to promote Mao's communist agenda. Cunxin was taken from his family, which brought them great honor, and was basically tortured into becoming one of the worlds best ballet dancers.
The story follows Cunxin through childhood in his proverty stricken commune, through his rigorous and painful training, all of the way to America. Upon arriving on American soil, Cunxin came to find the truth he had always know, shattered. America was not the poorest country on Earth, covered with roving gun weilding mobs. In fact everyone was beyond gracious, there were freedoms he had never imagined, monetary income was staggering, and the availability of food was nearly fantastical.

The love alone that the family members had for one another during such oppression made the book worth reading. Historically and politically the information was made easy to read through Cunxin's fabulous narration. Though by the end I admit skimming at parts.
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