This story struck a chord with me as I considered the fact that the writer was born in China within a year of my own Canadian birth. How different were our childhoods. It is gently and simply written, full of family memories in rural China and the whole Cultural Revolution experience as lived out by a child, teen, young man. The boy in this story led an extraordinary life, but kept his priorities right. His harsh childhood gave him the discipline needed to become a fabulous dancer. I bought the book for my parents who share with me a fascination for the nation of China. It is heartbreaking, yet full of passion and hope, and the most cherished of human possession--a loving family. Having read the biography of Chairman Mao, The Joy Luck Club, White Swans, some Pearl Buck novels, Life and Death in Shanghai, and books about Gladys Aylward, I found this book to broaden my understanding of what it is to be from China, this time through the life of one of my contemporaries. Read it by the fire this Christmas. It will warm your heart.