English Book Review Maos Last Dancer

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Follow your secret dreams
A little boy aged 11 living in communist China having to battle harsh conditions to overcome poverty, and realising his full potential. Alicia Butler
‘My dreams are the only comfort I have and most of those are nightmares. There is no end to this suffering!’(Pg 171) This quote represents all of Li’s future dreams. Then to be knocked down by his nightmares which is what he lives in everyday life. Beginning to believe that there is no end or that the nightmares will never stop and all of his suffering won’t leave his head Mao’s Last Dancer is a story of poverty, opportunities, dreams and a future that one little boy from a Chinese community has to discover for himself. Li Cunxin (the author of this Puffin Books young reader’s edition) never dreamt of becoming an international ballet dancer. However, as one door opened to a ballet career, he was able to leave the poverty of his born life behind. As the nightmares finished, for Li it was a whole new world. Despite a lack of food and harsh weather many people worked extremely hard. ‘One year there was a severe drought and nobody was paid a single Yuan’ (Pg7). Above being poor and in a place of poverty many people were ordered by the government to plant mostly wheat corn yams and sorghums depending on the seasons. Then one year it became so hot nothing would grow. Then having to borrow money from the government so they could feed their families even if it meant it would take longer days of work for more Yuan to pay back the government. “[my friend’s] uncle had bought him a little toy car and […] I loved it so much, […] I took it and ran home” (pp. 14) It’s important to understand that little kids need comfort and most of the time little kids get attached to a toy or something as simple as a pillow. Li being a little boy going through some very harsh times not ever having enough money to buy food let alone a little toy car. For Li having a toy in a life of such poverty is like...
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