I found this to be an extraordinary memoir. The book traces Cunxin Li's life growing up as a child under conditions of severe poverty in a small village during China's Cultural Revolution. Li's account of the hunger and deprivation during his early childhood offers a vivid glimpse of rural life under state socialism. The story moves from here to the discipline and perhaps even the cruelty of the Peking Dance academy where Li spent his teenage years. Finally, we follow the author to the United States where he embarks on a remarkable career as a principal dancer for the Houston ballet. For those interested in Chinese life, the immigrant experience, the Chinese-American community, ballet and the arts, and even political intrigue, this story is a gripping must-read.