Misty Copeland was raised in poverty, at one point living in a motel and sleeping on the living room floor with her siblings. Forced to move as her mother went from man to man, the only constant in her life came when she started to dance and realized her dream to become a ballerina. LIFE IN MOTION is a "rags to riches" type story, concentrating mainly on Misty's earlier years and her goal to become a classical ballerina. While the last 1/3 of the book talks about her actual experiences with ABT (American Ballet Theatre), this is less of a story about her actually as a dancer, and more of her struggle to become one.
While I found her story interesting and inspiring, in some cases I was a little frustrated by the "oh woe is me" attitude in the book. Yes, she was poor... but she had a school teacher take interest in her, who paid for her ballet supplies for many years. When her ballet teacher Cindy saw that she was living in a motel, she was taken to live with Cindy and Cindy's family, where she resided for two years with essentially everything she needed provided to her. When Misty decided to go back to her mother, it was - in the end - her own decision... she could have gone through the emancipation process but decided not to, but then resented the fact that she had to go back and live at home. She had the opportunity to start with ABT the beginning of her senior year at high school, but it was her choice to stay at home another year and start after graduating.
There is also a lot of emphasis in the book on how racist the ballet world is, but considering that Misty managed to get scholarships for just about everything, was invited to join ABT before she even graduated high school, and was encouraged and given extra training by ballet teaches in multiple companies, I don't see the racism. Misty was a prodigy and was treated special because of that, regardless of her skin color. While I do admit that being black may make it more difficult to rise in the white-dominated world of ballet, Misty seems to have done well for herself and it doesn't seem to be the struggle she makes it out to be.