Be Water, My Friend

By Sacramento Bee

Readers will discover in Be Water, My Friend: The Early Years of Bruce Lee that martial arts and acting were Lee’s exterior persona only. Born in 1940, Lee was a rascally boy in Hong King. He loved books and theater but was easily provoked into street fights. When he started losing, he turned to learning martial arts from Yip Man, the master who turned into Lee’s mentor. Lee became an expert at the moves but not the philosophy. When he misused his talent, Yip Man reprimanded him. How Lee calms himself and develops his approach to life is echoed by the title Be Water, My Friend, a direct quote from Lee. Today we’d say ‘go with the flow.’ Dom Lee’s dark, sepia-toned illustrations match Lee’s emotionally somber beginnings.