You are sure to laugh when a Nevada housewife, struggling through her own midlife crisis, shares her experiences while teaching in China. Through a plentitude of cultural nuances and interesting characters, Salyer details her touching and provocative journey leading to a greater appreciation for everything American. Whether you desire to teach abroad, make a life change or merely satisfy your own curiosity, this story is filled with the truths of one woman's journey and teaching experience abroad.
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Light insight into the topic, odd audio editing
The topic, Americans teaching in China, intrigued me, but the writer's insight remained superficial.
To learn more about this topic, I'll turn to other books, blogs, and resources on this topic (because this book is light on depth and breadth).
The conversational writing style facilitated the listening experience, but sometimes tipped into a gossipy tone with light substance. It frustrated me to get more insight into the writer's narrow American cultural vision and into her mid-life crisis than into the Chinese culture. For my taste, it felt a bit too self-centered and shallow, as if this trip to China was mostly a feel-good manicure to heal the author's mood. Regrettably, we don't feel much of her investment into her missions (helping Chinese students improve their English, being an ambassador of her culture), and she shares little about her classroom experiences.
The reader articulates well, but she has a mild case of a California Valley Girl accent that reinforces the superficial overtone of the text (further highlighting the book's weakness). The production is sub-par because the silent pauses at the end of chapters are cut down too short, and it creates run-on sentences that combine the last sentence of a chapter and the title of the next chapter (confusing!). These too-short pauses occur in other places in the text. Otherwise, the audio quality is good.
For the same topic, and a much better book (with more insight, cultural comparisons, teaching experiences, stronger prose, etc.), pick Peter Hessler's River Town. If you're still hungry for more, and can be satisfied with a light fare next, try this book.
Hilarious At Times... Unbelievable at Times!