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  • Wholly entertaining and informative!

    An adventure, a memoir, and certainly one of the more entertaining books about China before us today. Read, laugh, gasp, and chuckle along with Abdiel as he offers us insights into the country that daily seems to be becoming America’s closest observed potential foe.

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  • Looking Backward

    “It is perhaps too much to hope that my observations about China will be prescriptive, but at least I can offer the perspective of an outsider, and sometimes it takes an outsider to observe the obvious!” Starting in 2005 Abdiel LeRoy, British-American reporter, began his life in China as a teacher. This book is his memoir and memories from that extended time throughout different provinces and parts of Chinese media. As he explains, it started as emails to other friends. Some reviewers have taken LeRoy to task for how he quotes Shakespeare; his views on Asian women; and other “things”. Part of that has to be looking at the past through “the present”. I chose not to do the same, but to try to see it through the same time frame.... My question is why did he do it? You just can’t impose western ideas on Eastern Asia. He didn’t see that teaching from western standards could get you fired, but it’s the reason he claims he was. He continues to teach in other places and complains about how the students are treated, and how a professor was murdered by a student. He freelanced in Beijing because he wanted to be there, falling back into acting to make ends meet. “Sick, loveless and broke” he gets ready to go back to the UK, when CCTV offers him a position that despite setbacks, keeps body and soul together until he truely gets back to a place where he can look at the whole picture, and, in his eyes at times the government of China post-Mao is as intimidating as Mao’s China was. I have a friend whose granddaughter spent a recent year teaching ESL in Beijing. Although her reports were of its beauty and friendliness, I think someday she might look back upon it and have a bit of anger over how she: a tall, beautiful intelligent redhead might have *actually* been treated. The beauty of e-mail is that it’s momentary, but it stirs up many memories. That’s how I see Mr. LeRoy’s book, that the whole of his experience revisits his instances with angst and anger when it may not have been this way. It is what it is: a memoir. Recommended 4/5 [disclaimer: I received this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it]

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