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I could understand if folks have a higher opinion of the book than I came away with, but I really wasn't able to identify with the author, being neither Jewish, nor a basketball fan, nor knowledgeable of the music to which he sometimes refers. The "Jewish angle" seemed little more than a marketing hook to me - he makes no dietary concession at all, presumably eating pork during his time there, though he does host a Friday "Shabbat night" for his Chinese students. Unlike in Hessler's book, we get little insight into the teaching experience itself, with the emphasis placed on the personality of his students, the basketball playing (which to be fair includes a fascinating encounter with a fortune teller), as well as his friendship with a local ethnic minority family. Overall, the book was okay - not sorry I listened to it, but by the time the eight hours were up I was quite ready to go on to something else. Narration took getting used to as George Backman sounded somewhat older than thirty years, though I can see why he got the job as his (seemingly perfect to me) Chinese accent, and Chinese-accented English voices, were a definite plus.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Yes. I love Chinese culture and this was well written and from the heart. But I did not like the narrator. Voice did not fit the age/image of the writer. Was he chosen because of his Chinese? I would have preferred to read the book.
I have recommended that they read the book.
What other book might you compare Kosher Chinese to and why?
What aspect of George Backman’s performance would you have changed?
The whole thing!
Could you see Kosher Chinese being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Movie maybe (but it would probably not be a box office hit!)...not a TV series
Any additional comments?
Have been to China and could relate!!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
This is a thoughtful and beautiful observation of life in contemporary China. Levy travels to the "heart of China" - a provincial city located far from Beijing, Shanghai, Western factories and the economic boom. Michael Levy is a good storyteller and a sensitive observer, who is caring about the people around him while remaining acutely aware of his own biases and Western perspective. All these make the book not only thoughtful and interesting, but also unique.