Education About Asia: Online Archives

Sweet and Sour: One Woman’s Chinese Adventure, One Man’s Chinese Torture

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Like other books by Americans traveling to Third World countries, this book dwells too much on the discomforts and not enough on the local people. Travel accounts seem to be egocentric, telling us more about the writer’s peccadilloes and emotions than about the place being visited. The early chapters that relate the authors’ decision to go, preparations, and initial problems are a very long introduction to the real heart of the book. It is not until chapters 15, 16 and 17 that we finally learn about the jobs they had and the people they met. These chapters are the best in the book in that they provide some insight into the life of people in China and the thoughts of individuals as they try to accomplish their jobs and fulfill their dreams. The first several chapters seemed to be stuck on culture shock and the adjustments necessary to living in a Third World country, some of which I felt they should have expected and been prepared for.

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