Awakening the Sleeping Tiger

Awakening the Sleeping Tiger:  The True Story of a Professional Chinese Athlete © by Liu Yu and Dawn Cerf.

How does an eager-to-please, young Chinese girl, owned by the unyielding Communist government, learn to fight for survival by becoming an independent thinker?

When Liu Yu, an impressionable Chinese girl, witnesses the venomous public trial of her mother’s co-worker and friend during the Cultural Revolution, her life is changed forever.  The incident silences her voice but not her desire to escape from poverty and the wearisome fate her mother endures.

At age eleven, Liu Yu grabs her chance to avoid being sent to the countryside in the government’s plan to re-educate its young people even though it means leaving her supportive family behind.  She catapults to the top of Communist society by becoming an elite professional athlete, living the dream of every child in China.  Prestige and material comfort, however, are quickly overshadowed by loneliness and a brutal training regimen.

After Liu Yu endures nearly ten years of rigorous martial arts training, feuding coaches threaten her dreams of a national championship.  She must then decide whether to follow her family’s values and her heart or push for the championship she feels is within her grasp.

Guided by her grandmother’s wisdom, the young woman realizes what she wants more than fame and fortune is the chance to control her own life.  Liu Yu risks everything, finding the courage to turn against the cultural tide in China to seek her own destiny.  In the process she rediscovers her voice, the one she lost as a child of the Cultural Revolution.


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