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A Book Review of “Life in Motion” by Misty Copeland


Rose is an enthusiastic writer and reader who publishes articles most Thursdays. She enjoys all book genres, especially drama and fantasy.

What’s the Big Deal?

It’s easy enough for most of us to ignore art forms that don’t line up with our innate interests, but with Life in Motion, Misty Copeland’s bestselling memoir, it’s evident that this shouldn’t be the case. Captivating people from all walks of life since she was young, Copeland has worked with numerous celebrities and companies, reality TV shows, started her own organization, and written four books over the course of her career. Named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time Magazine, Copeland is still going strong, leading her life in motion with persistent grace and passion.

“Life in Motion” by Misty Copeland

“Life in Motion” by Misty Copeland

Book Summary

In Life in Motion, ballerina Misty Copeland tells the story of her life—from a young child growing up in San Pedro, California to a world-famous principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Misty recounts the hardships and successes that pushed her to where she is today.

Beginning with stories of her loving but unstable family, Misty writes of what she endured as an anxious and worried child, and then how she learned to manage those worries when she discovered ballet at—yes, you heard me right—age 13. Misty was a prodigy, a genius in ballet from the first time she set foot in her local Boys and Girls Club to dance.

After that, she fell in love. She could only climb upwards, dancing amidst familial struggles, body image struggles, and racial struggles, quickly growing accustomed to the harsh yet rewarding world that is being a dancer. As Misty pushed forward, gaining leverage with competitions, workshops, and shows, it was only natural for her to move to New York to join the American Ballet Theatre at age 19.

In her memoir, Misty illustrates what it’s like to part of such an illustrious company, but that’s only a fraction of the tale—with “anecdotes drawn from her palmiest days,” she writes of friendships, self-doubt, love, and her desire to make ballet available to all—a goal as noble and powerful as she is. Wise and unfaltering, Life in Motion is a sparkling tale of perseverance and pride.

Quick Facts

  • Author: Misty Copeland
  • Pages: 278
  • Genre: Autobiography; memoir
  • Ratings: 3.9/5 Goodreads, 4.7/5 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Release date: March 4, 2015
  • Publisher: Aladdin

To Read or Not to Read?

I recommend this book if:

  • You’re interested in memoirs and autobiographies like Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick or A Little Bit Wicked by Kristen Chenoweth
  • You’re interested in ballet, dance, or racial representation in the arts
  • You like learning about new things and gaining new perspectives on the world
  • You’re interested in the musician Prince—Misty has worked with him on many occasions, which she details in her book
  • You’re looking for a paragon of grit to push and inspire you to be your best self

You can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed.

— Misty Copeland, “Life in Motion”


  • “Young girls and boys alike will be captivated by Copeland’s story of hard work and perseverance, and encouraged to pursue their own dreams no matter what obstacles may stand in their way.” —BookPage
  • “With an insider’s passion, Misty opens a window into the life of an artist who lives life center stage, from behind the scenes at her first classes to her triumphant roles in some of the world’s most iconic ballets. A sensational memoir as ‘sensitive’ and ‘clear-eyed’ (The Washington Post) as her dancing, Life in Motion is a story of passion, identity and grace for anyone who has dared to dream of a different life.” —Indiebound.org
Misty Copeland, the book’s author

Misty Copeland, the book’s author

The Takeaway

An unparalleled tale of pain and perseverance, Life in Motion is a memoir definitely worth trying out. Though ballerinas are held to an incredibly high standard and seen as perfect and pristine, Misty Copeland breaks apart this stereotype as she recounts her struggle to become one of the most famous ballerinas of her time, lending sparkling word choice and an experienced perspective to the story as it unfolds. Though imperfect, Misty’s memoir is intelligent and interesting, proving just how far one can go if they buck up and give it their all.