Da Chen tells us his life in a very fresh, immediate way. He offers us an insight into communist China - and the hard life for the descendants of a landlord's family. Then Mao simply dies, and things slightly change. But the big changes in Da's life are made possible by love and cohesion in his family. A story with a moral, without being moralistic.
Maybe, if I had read this book many years ago, I would have been a better student myself :)