Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion

( 23 )

Overview

An irreverent tale of an American Jew serving in the Peace Corps in rural China, which reveals the absurdities, joys, and pathos of a traditional society in flux

In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy to teach English in the heart of China's heartland. His hosts in the city of Guiyang found additional uses for him: resident expert on Judaism, romantic adviser, and provincial basketball star, to name a few. His account of overcoming vast cultural differences to ...

See more details below
Paperback
$13.46
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$15.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (2) from $1.99   
  • Used (2) from $1.99   
Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

An irreverent tale of an American Jew serving in the Peace Corps in rural China, which reveals the absurdities, joys, and pathos of a traditional society in flux

In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy to teach English in the heart of China's heartland. His hosts in the city of Guiyang found additional uses for him: resident expert on Judaism, romantic adviser, and provincial basketball star, to name a few. His account of overcoming vast cultural differences to befriend his students and fellow teachers is by turns poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.

While reveling in the peculiarities of life in China's interior, the author also discovered that the "other billion" (people living far from the coastal cities covered by the American media) have a complex relationship with both their own traditions and the rapid changes of modernization. Lagging behind in China's economic boom, they experience the darker side of "capitalism with Chinese characteristics," daily facing the schizophrenia of conflicting ideologies.

Kosher Chinese is an illuminating account of the lives of the residents of Guiyang, particularly the young people who will soon control the fate of the world.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Discover Great New Writers

What happens when a New York high-school teacher joins the Peace Corps and travels to one of the remotest parts of China? First, of course, comes a large dose of culture shock. Levy launches himself on a steep learning curve, including coping with primitive plumbing, delicacies like spicy chicken feet, and a mysterious Chinese proclivity for John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Worried that his students in backward Guizhou will be stereotypical Maoists, he discovers that though they do still cling to ideology, they are also hungry for modernization with "Chinese characteristics" and equally thirsty for knowledge, romance, and personal information about their Jewish American teacher. After Levy abandons the idea of kosher dog meat from the local Walmart, he and his students settle for an improvised Shabbat dinner of pizza after a long, zany hunt for cheese. In class, students yell their answers at concert-level volume, and when Levy points out that an answer is wrong, the usual response is a serene "But we have learned it." Eventually, Michael becomes emotionally involved in his students' lives. One day in class while immersed in a lively discussion of Kurt Vonnegut, he realizes that he's forgotten he is in faraway China and is simply a teacher enjoying the lively repartee of intelligent students. Levy's observant eye gives us a down-to-earth, affectionately humorous view of a land foreign to most Americans—and makes us see (and enjoy!) our common humanity.

Publishers Weekly
In this lively memoir of serving in the Peace Corps in Guiyang, China, Levy explores a society in flux—while mining the entertaining if familiar terrain of cross-cultural misunderstandings. He struggles to explain English terminology to students who unknowingly translate their names into expletives, is coerced into eating the specialty at Dog Meat King, and finds that the community distrusts him not merely because he is American, but because he is Jewish. But Levy turns his perceived otherness to his advantage, earning the nickname "Friendship Jew" and being tapped to lead a student organization, the Guizhou University Jewish Friday Night English and Cooking Corner Club, a rare extracurricular activity in a culture Levy finds devoid of such opportunities. "There were no glee clubs, school newspapers, yearbooks... expressions of creativity were mere distractions, as was critical thinking." Pop culture references abound: Sex and the City, Star Wars, The Matrix are all name checked as if to suggest that Levy is grasping for familiarity in a foreign land, but their ubiquity becomes tiresome. Humor works best when Levy uses them to point to matters of deeper significance, such as the Westernization of China. As one of the local teachers encapsulates it, "Wal-Mart is the future, and Chairman Mao is the past." Interested readers would do well to check out Peter Hessler's Peace Corps memoir, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. (July)
From the Publisher
"A funny and informative account of life in Guizhou province, deep in the heart of China. As a Peace Corps volunteer, Michael Levy came to know and love a part of the country that few visitors see, a world away from Beijing and Shanghai."—Peter Hessler, author of River Town and Oracle Bones

"As a Peace Corps volunteer, Michael Levy taught for two years in a corner of China overlooked by tourists and correspondents. Kosher Chinese is a heartfelt, engaging memoir that captures at once the poignancy and humor of daily life in the new China. Levy's narrative balances his own acclimation to China with his students' acclimation to university life, and independence. This is what it feels like to be immersed behind the headlines—for Levy, it came to feel like home."—Michael Meyer, author of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed

“Michael Levy is the tour guide to the real China we all long for.  Funny, insightful, full of warmth and wit, Kosher Chinese brims with interesting characters and scenes, and it marks the debut of a fresh new voice in American writing.”—Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and The Council of Dads

“With intelligence and zesty good humor, Levy tells the story of his sojourn as an ESL teacher in Guiyang… A rollicking, thoroughly refreshing debut.”—Kirkus

“As in Peter Hessler’s River Town…and Peter J. Vernezze’s Socrates in Sichuan…, Peace Corps experience is the inspiration for Levy’s cheekier and freewheeling but insightful adventure story.”—Library Journal

Library Journal
As in Peter Hessler's River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze and Peter J. Vernezze's recent Socrates in Sichuan: Chinese Students Search for Truth, Justice, and the (Chinese) Way, Peace Corps experience is the inspiration for Levy's cheekier and freewheeling but insightful adventure story. Pundits describe a prosperous Chinese middle class living along the coast, but in 2005 Levy arrived in poor and isolated Guizhou, where the students he taught belonged to China's "other billion." At first it was hard to know which side knew less about the other—Levy, whose China background was shaky, or his hosts, whose understanding of his Judaism was limited to the fact that "Comrade Marx was Jewish" and so was Einstein. As Levy gets to know (and play basketball with) his students, his misadventures with squat toilets, confrontations with exotic foods, and bureaucratic snafus become less important than genuine debates over American democracy and the students' belief that their authoritarian system has led to development, stability, and dignity. VERDICT Informative, snappy reading, though not essential.—Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL
Kirkus Reviews

An ex–Peace Corps volunteer chronicles the two years he spent living and working deep in the Chinese hinterlands.

With intelligence and zesty good humor, Levy tells the story of his sojourn as an ESL teacher in Guiyang. "In American political terms," he writes, "it was red China, as opposed to the blue, progressive, latte-sipping China of the coast." As the only white native speaker of English at Guizhou University, Levy soon became the center of attention. But it was his Jewish identity—which he shared with Chinese cultural icon Karl Marx—that made him a particular object of student fascination. Drafted as the leader of the Guizhou Jewish Friday Night English and Cooking Corner Club, he prepared challah bread on his day of Sabbath, "no matter what Rabbinic rules were broken." Levy's students and colleagues also pressed him into service as resident love advisor. As one girl told him, "Americans like him [had] been falling in love since Shakespeare and [had] many examples to follow." Chinese people did not. The college basketball coach eventually recruited him as the star player on the Guizhou team, and Levy earned the moniker "Friendship Jew" and notoriety for his hirsute body. At first bewildered by culture whereguanxi(personal connections) were crucial to upward mobility and where Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut and KFC were considered the height of Western cosmopolitanism, the author learned to accept contradiction as one of the defining trait of modern China. His most profound insights came from a group of graduate students he taught who identified with writers of the Lost Generation. Like these men and women, the students "lived in a world that seemed unmoored from traditional values." Knowing that he could change neither the world in which he found himself nor the fate of those whom he befriended, Levy found unexpected comfort in the pop-culture wisdom of a teen singing sensation named Li Yuchun: "You cannot change the course of a river, [b]ut you can learn to appreciate its beauty and power."

A rollicking, thoroughly refreshing debut.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805096859
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/7/2012
  • Sales rank: 615,290
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Levy is an educator, writer, and traveler, who currently teaches in Brooklyn, New York, at Saint Ann's School. Levy returns frequently to Guiyang to check in on his students and visit the basketball courts where he momentarily attained stardom. While in the United States, he keeps strictly kosher. While in China, he eats anything with four legs except the table.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Preface

The People Who Are Special, Too

I strongly believe there is no species of millipede I will ever find palatable. The particular version I found in my bowl on a warm summer evening in the summer of 2005 was an easy call. There were hundreds of them, red and pink, each about an inch long. They had however many legs it takes to make something "milli" as well as angry-looking pincers from both the front and back. They had been deep fried and were left moist with oil. The dish included long sugar sticks that one could lick and dip into the bowl. The millipedes that stuck would get sucked off the stick in what I had been assured was a delicious combination of sweet and sour. Nevertheless, I demurred.

"I cannot eat this," I told my host, a middle-aged Communist Party official in a dusty blue jacket. We were two of the dozen or so people who had gathered at the center of Unicorn Hill Village #3—a tiny hamlet of perhaps thirty single-story houses constructed of cinder block and wood—to celebrate my visit and the arrival of the Peace Corps. We were sitting around a low, round table on fourteen-inch-high plastic stools. The millipedes glistened before me in a chipped porcelain bowl. The group stared on in silence as the village leader looked from me to the millipedes and back to me. He had a spindly frame and tanned skin that was drawn taut against his cheekbones. He looked like a Chinese Voldemort.

"Eat the food," he grunted. His wife had made the millipede dish according to what my guide told me was "a very special recipe of the Bouyei people." The Bouyei were a tiny, impoverished ethnic group concentrated in the mountains of central China. These were some of the very people the Peace Corps had sent me to live with, learn from, and—in theory—teach. My first meal in the village and I was off to a bad start.

"You can eat this," my guide said with a nervous smile. "It tastes good." He demonstrated for me, licking his sugar stick, dipping it in the bowl, and sucking off one particularly hairy millipede. "They're sweet," he explained, crunching away happily, "and Americans like sweet things."

I nodded. "That's true." I groped for a polite escape. "But I'm a little different than most Americans." This gained me perplexed looks from both my guide and my host.

"I'm a Jew."

Gasps. Widened eyes. Furrowed brows. Awkward silence. I said this last sentence in Chinese. "Wo shi youtairen." The phrase, loosely translated, meant "I am a Person Who Is Special, Too."

Why—oh why—had I said this? This was atheist, Communist China, after all. Didn't Karl Marx say religion was the "opiate of the masses"? Had I just told my hosts I was a drug addict? And hadn't Chairman Mao condemned religion as one of the "Four Olds," a remnant (along with old culture, old habits, and old ideas) of the feudal past the Communist Party sought to destroy? I wondered if the arrest and deportation of a Peace Corps volunteer would make the evening news back home in Philadelphia.

As the silence around the table deepened and my face turned ever-darker shades of red, I marveled at the desperation of my religious mea culpa. I should have known better. I had, after all, already undergone months of Peace Corps training, sweating through seemingly endless hours of language classes, daily safety-and-security lectures, and occasional lessons in cross-cultural sensitivity. All of this, however, had taken place in Chengdu, the wealthy, relatively Americanized capital city of Sichuan Province, which was now a sixteen-hour train ride to the north. Chengdu had McDonald's, Starbucks, and an IKEA. It was the China of Thomas Friedman and other American pundits touting China's rise. I was now in Guizhou Province, the desperately poor, rural province in the dead center of China that would be my home for the next two years. Guizhou had . . . millipedes.

I was happy that my training was complete and I was finally on my own. I was happy to be in a part of China I had rarely seen covered in the American media. I was feeling like an authentic, trailblazing Peace Corps volunteer on an Indiana Jones adventure. Unicorn Hill Village #3 was no Temple of Doom, but this was far from my typical dinner.

Dr. Jones played it cool; I was desperate. Embracing my Jewish roots at that particular moment was a foggy-headed attempt to get excused from the table. I had never yearned so powerfully for a bagel.

"Jews can't eat insects," I mumbled, my eyes scanning for reactions from the men who surrounded me. "I don't want to get into it, but there are a lot of rules for us . . ."

The tension seemed to mount until, quite suddenly, the silence was broken by a hoot from my host's wife. Her cry was followed by smiles from others in the group, pats on my back, and even some applause.

"Comrade Marx was Jewish," said a man sitting a few paces away from the table, staring at me intensely.

"So was Einstein," beamed the man to my right, offering me a cigarette.

"You must be very clever," said my guide, as the bowl of insects was removed from my side of the table, replaced by a dish of steaming meat.

"Why would the CIA send us a Jew?" mumbled Voldemort. I wasn't sure I had heard him correctly, but the raised eyebrow from my guide let me know I had, officially, just been accused of being a spy.

It was all a little bewildering, but I smiled like an idiot, happy to avoid the millipedes. I dug right into the mystery meat, and the men around the table quickly began eating their food as well. There was a toast to my health, then another to my success as a teacher, then another to American-Chinese friendship. We all got good and drunk.

I had passed the test. I was a Jew in the middle of nowhere, China.

Excerpted from Kosher Chinese by Mike Levy

Copyright 2011 by Mike Levy

Published in 2011 by Henry Holt and Company

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

Six Questions for Michael Levy
Why did you decide to join the Peace Corps?I was living in Manhattan on September 11th, and like all Americans, I felt a rush of emotions. For me, it was fear, helplessness, confusion, and anger. I wanted to do something with these emotions, but I'm not the military type—I get queasy watching old episodes of ER—so there was no chance I'd join the Marine Corps. But I had heard of this thing called the Peace Corps. The more I looked into it, the more I felt like it would be a way for me to feel a sense of control, a sense of contribution (however small). So I guess I joined for the most basic reason: to do service for my country. It's hipster patriotism.
How did Guizhou Province (where you lived) differ from the China that most Americans see in the news?
I started blogging while in China, and the reaction of my readers was always the same: where the heck are you? My friends and family all knew I was in China, of course, but the stories I would tell, the observations I made, the people I met, were nothinglike the news we get from the mainstream American media. Thomas Friedman and the globalization gurus are ignoring more than a billion Chinese.
Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, those places have a huge story to tell, the story of a booming economy and a growing world power. It's the story the Times and the Wall Street Journal are getting right. But this erases the majority of Chinese, all of whom are literally forbidden from entering that part of the country. China does not allow legal internal migration. So to really know what average Chinese are thinking, we need more news from beyond the coast. We need to know why the other billion love Lebron, but hate Kobe. We need to know why Celine Dion is their favorite singer. We need to know what they think of Barack Obama. We need to know how it can be that at the center of Guiyang (the city I lived in), there is a Mao statue right next to the entrance to the city's Walmart.
And that's the story I try to tell in the book.
You were sent to China in part because of your years of experience as a classroom teacher here in the U.S. How would you compare the two teaching experiences?
The difference is as stark as imaginable. In Guizhou, I taught 60 kids in a room in tables bolted to the floor. Above me hung pictures of Mao, Lenin, and Marx. Everything was geared towards high stakes testing. Chinese students spend every second of their time in class getting ready for national tests, SAT-like bubble tests that require them to memorize English vocabulary, Communist propaganda, math formulas, and random trivia. Everything that isn't relevant to the test—mental and physical health, creativity, writing and critical thinking skills—is thrown out of the curriculum.
At the school I now teach at in Brooklyn (Saint Ann's), we do not grade. We do not punish. We focus entirely on the joy of the learning process. I felt such relief leaving the Chinese school system—the most rigid, soul crushing system in the world—and entering a school that at its best strives to make creative, happy young people.
But here's the irony: No Child Left Behind and the Race to the Top (the Bush and Obama education policies) are moving us at a sprint towards the Chinese system. More central control; more high stakes testing; more rote memorization; more fear and punishment, and less thinking. This is a total disaster. Speaking as a classroom teacher and as someone who has seen the results of extreme "accountability," I can safely say that No Child Left Behind is the worst piece of federal education legislation in American history. It will destroy our global competitive edge
Your ethnicity seemed to play a big part of your experience in China and you were eventually nicknamed the "Friendship Jew." How big a role did Judaism play while you were there and how did the nickname come about?
I was confronted every day with issues of identity. What does in mean to be an American? What did my hosts think it meant to be a Communist? What does it mean to be a Jewish Peace Corps Volunteer in rural China? When I left for China, I was a strict vegetarian and totally Kosher. I hadn't touched meat in seven years. But I wanted to be a good guest. I wanted to live up to the Peace Corps ideal of immersion. I learned the language, I got a stipend of 100 dollars a month (the local average), I lived in the same apartment building all the other teachers lived in. But this wasn't' enough. I also ate whatever was served, no matter how wildly unkosher it was (from pig to insect and beyond), and drank like I was at a two year long frat party.
Who have you discovered lately?
I've got three books on the table next to my bed, and they're all very different. To get my China fix, I've been reading Alan Paul's Big in China. It manages to combine my favorite foreign country with my favorite type of music, since he's a blues guitarist and a writer for Guitar World. As someone interested in education, I've enjoyed Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System. And when I want to sink into fiction, I pick up Xiaolu Guo, a lovely young writer from Beijing. Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth is haunting.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

    Hilarious!

    I've read a couple of other China/ Peace Corps memoirs, but they all seemed a little stuffy. This one is hilarious, and Levy seems down-to-earth and self aware. I can't wait to see if they turn this into a movie! It makes me want to join the Peace Corps, though I would never eat half the things he ate.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 30, 2011

    A Great Book for Potential Cross-Cultural Missionaries

    For those considering short-term cross cultural missions or service opportunities, or for those seeking a window into life in the other China, I recommend Kosher Chinese. It's engaging, walk-through-life style, rich descriptions of Chinese life, and personal reflections by the author will transport you to the streets of Guiyang and introduce you to a part of China not featured in the press. The author, who taught English in Guiyang as a Peace Corp volunteer, offers a humorous if at times irreverent look at life not only in Guiyang but among the personal lives of his students. For Christians it's an opportunity to gain an inside look at at the emptiness of both ideology and materialism in a society that sorely needs the anchor provided by the Gospel. Not only that, but it can be a mirror in which we see our own clutching materialism and our need for something to worship that transcends tradition, party, tribe, or money --- for a God who is the end of all our yearnings.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    A must read

    Entertaining and accurate, a necessary read for any former/future/current EFL teacher in a developing country

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Been There-It's all true

    Loved this book, and as someone who briefly stayed in the heart of China, I have to say it was very accurate although my time there wasn't as funny, We did come home with a 3 yr old girl who needed major surgery and would not have had any future in China. I recommend this book to everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    This is a fabulous book for anyone who likes to learn about how cultures mesh. It is not a book simply about the Jewish culture in China but about how we compromise and learn from one another. In a world that is becoming smaller and smaller, it is a great read for everyone. I strongly recommend it for a book club -- especially one that has both men and women since it is not just a "chic book". I loved it. It made me laugh as well as made me think. Read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2011

    A glimpse into life in rural China

    I enjoyed this book--a glimpse into life in China outside the largest cities. The book was both funny and disturbing. Interesting insights into how we Americans view the Chinese and their way of life, and of their view of us--both of which are often inaccurate.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Sphirekit

    Oh

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

    Oy! Vat a Story!

    For me, this was a great read. I enjoyed the writing style, and got a wonderful first-hand account of what people are like in China, how they live, and what they believe about Americans, based on what the government indoctrinates them with. The episodes within Michael Levy's 2 year Peace Corps stint are touching, funny, and sometimes upsetting. I was transported!
    Don't expect a primitive setting where the volunteer goes to help build infrastructure and such - Levy is an English teacher working at a college. Also, there is no heavy focus on all things Jewish, it's more a part of the mix than something that monopolizes too much of the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Having just recently come back from two years in China as an ex-

    Having just recently come back from two years in China as an ex-pat, I found Mr. Levy's insights to be quite accurate. I was in a slightly (and I do mean slightly -- this was no Beijing I was living in...) less remote city in northeast China, but many of the customs and experiences sounded oh-so-familiar :)
    The book starts out with several humorous anecdotes. All true about China as a whole. The bathroom story at the beginning -- if you've read the book, you know the one ;-) -- was HYSTERICAL and I can totally sympathize. I laughed till profuse tears were flowing as I read that particular story.
    The book becomes slightly less funny as the story unfolds, but no less interesting. Overall, I would say that this is an excellent representation of "real" China (i.e. not big western cities like Beijing or Shanghai). I would definitely recommend this memoir to those wanting to know more about life in China. Just beware of the little bits of *ahem* language scattered throughout.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 16, 2012

    Please be warned about this book. I am a veteran reader of trav

    Please be warned about this book. I am a veteran reader of travelogues from all over the world--I love the genre. Too, I know that China is a culture that enjoys eating dogs, and the notion of dog butchers and dog restaurants in Kosher Chinese did not surprise me. However, the horribly graphic description of a man gleefully abusing puppies to death was more than I could tolerate. Although the author did respond defensively (but not physically) to the abuse, and we do need to know about such abuse to combat it (even if only through prayer), Levy's account of the incident was just too awful for me to continue with the book, given the already numerous mentions of dog cuisine. I deleted it from my NOOK.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I loved this book

    Hilarious. I laughed out loud throughout this book. It was funny and at times sadly pathetic. Michael Levy is a great story teller. I highly recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    You gotta read this book!

    Michael Levy writes a great book about his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in China. I have spent eight summers teaching in China, and I have experienced the same things he experienced. Reading this book brought back many memories for me, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know what it's like to live and work in China. Do yourself a favor and read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)