In this witty memoir, Moxley recounts his coming-of-age years in the strange, gritty, and wonderful environment that is 21st century China. Before arriving there in 2007, Moxley was restless, bored, and depressed about his career prospects. While searching an online job board, the young Canadian journalist came across a writer/editor position for the only English-language newspaper in the country. Planning to stay for only a year, Moxley dove into the intoxicating, high-octane environment of emerging China. Commerce was booming in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics and, although his new job wasn’t what he expected, Moxley reveled in the heavy drinking and rigorous nightlife typical of expats in China. He took Chinese lessons, established himself as a freelance writer, appeared on a Chinese dating show, and even became one of China’s “hottest bachelors,” as ranked by Cosmopolitan. While the country’s idiosyncrasies began to seduce Moxley, misgivings about his untethered life started to bubble up. “You stop noticing the unusual things around you—in fact, the unusual things are simply not unusual anymore. And then you’re left wondering: Why am I still here?” Moxley’s tale is a nostalgic travelogue; one purchase is never far from his mind: “A plane ticket. One way. To New York.” (July)
Though [Moxley] infuses Apologies with much insight and color commentary as to the cultural divides between East and West, it’s his own interior development that makes his memoir a success.
Canadian journalist Moxley's story of moving to Beijing to work for the government-run, English-language newspaper China Daily is by turns comic and poignant. He wrestles with his journalistic ideals as he writes and edits for the censored publication while the city gears up for the 2008 Summer Olympics. His tale involves his quest for living arrangements, getting around and getting to know the city, and figuring out how to make a life as a young, single, employed foreigner. As a Westerner, he is also recruited as an actor, and he is put in movies, on TV shows, and exhibited generally because of his background. He not only succeeds as an editor and writer but manages to makes many close friends (and girlfriends) there. VERDICT The book reflects a not-unusual journey toward becoming a self-sufficient adult, but Moxley does so in a vividly described foreign environment. This humorous memoir chronicles a man's professional and personal emergence.—Melinda Stivers Leach, Wondervu, CO