A Review of
Yes China! An English Teacher's Love-Hate Relationship with a Foreign Country
By Clark Nielsen
A book about China, this should be fascinating and parts of it were, but it´s also about Clark's experience, or should I say lack of experience, teaching English in China. I nearly gave up on Yes China after the first three chapters. They are all about his time in the classroom and I´m afraid to say they were repetitive and dull. Clark then went onto tell the reader about life in China and the book suddenly got interesting.
Unfortunately between every interesting chapter is another about Clark´s life in the classroom. Okay I know the book's blurb clearly states "I was there to pretend like I knew how to teach," but you can have too much of a good thing and quite honestly every chapter about being in the teaching environment felt the same. The incidents might be different but as I progressed it just felt I'd read it all before. Now when Clark writes about his life in China and the people, then the interest level soars. From restrooms to food, travel to accommodation, Clark covers them all. He talks about the Chinese people and the huge cultural differences existing between them and the U.S. Towards the end of the book he even finds love, good reading as you will find out.
In the snippet from the blurb, above, you will also gather there is an attempt at humour. This went over my head, but that´s me. Humour is subjective and I'm sure many people would find Clark's writing hilarious.
The author is brutally honest about his feelings starting with his resignation from the Mormon Church to his thoughts about some of the kids he tries to teach English too. At times I found him embarrassingly open, revealing too much of himself, but you've got to admire somebody prepared to wear their heart on their sleeve in front of the reading public.
So, I found Yes China a very mixed bag of tricks, some very good and others to be honest, boring. I suppose I was disappointed it was not more of a travelogue, which just goes to show I could not have read the book's blurb properly. Having said all that I did enjoy parts of the book and am glad I read it. If you are at all interested in travel or China I believe you should give it a try even though I´ve not given the book a very good review.
If you would like to buy or download a copy of this book click here. Yes China
My rating 3 out of 5.