This book is surely a good source of data about poverty in China. It let people, especially Western people, to understand the situation of poverty in China. However, these diaries happened between 2000 and 2001, which has great difference in years from now. Through these years, China have experienced and changed a lot. As telecommunication improved, economy developed rapidly, China is becoming more and more open to the world. Is story like Ma Yan still happening somewhere in China after these years? We don't know. But we are sure that more or less, the number of children like Ma Yan is decreasing.
This book had not only showed the poverty of China, but in deeper meaning, it also showed the thoughts and actions towards her by different people around her from the experience of Ma Yan. These things were deeply affected by the Chinese traditional thinking, her sex and her social status. It had shown the inequality between villagers and citizens, between boys and girls, between the rich and the poor, etc.
In a much deeper meaning, it had shown the thinking and attitude of Ma Yan herself. She was a hard-working and filial girl. In her diary, she always said that she had to work hard and have good results, so as to pay back the effort her mother had paid for her in the future. I must said that her thoughts can't represent all the other girls having the same situation like Ma Yan, as there may be some girls having same situation like Ma Yan but very lazy. But she is a typical example of all other poor girls in China.