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Yes China! An English Teacher's Love-Hate Relationship with a Foreign Country Paperback – July 29, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I'm giggling in bed, I haven't laughed with an author in a long time. Dozens of screaming Chinese kids versus one Mormon kid who sorta-kinda knows what he's doing. The way he—sparingly and tastefully—writes in accents makes parts of the book hilarious. I feel like I'm listening to a rollicking, self-deprecating story." -- The Uncustomary Book Review

"Overall, I liked Yes China! and would recommend it to someone who wants an account of what it's like being an ESL teacher in China. It's a good effort from a talented young author. I'll definitely be interested to see what Clark writes next." -- Mark's China Blog

"I would still recommend it to people considering teaching English in China, or current teachers who are looking for someone to commiserate with. It can be easily finished in a couple of sittings, and is worth the few hours it takes to complete it." -- Seeing Red in China
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1463718691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1463718695
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,167,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Whistlers Mom TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are so many books available about teaching English in China (I've read or tried to read a bunch of them) and it's difficult to say why I think this one is worth your time. The author is just such a likable guy that you can't help but get interested in what happens to him. He seems rather mature and thoughtful for his age. This may come from being raised Mormon in a largely Mormon area but with an atheist father. Sort of a minority within a minority which must have been complicated. He left the church as an adult, but went to China as part of a group of Mormon young people. Probably not the best idea, since he was shunned by the others in the group.

He'll have an occasional beer, but this is not a series of binge-drinking-while-prowling-for-sex stories (which describes many books by American men teaching English abroad!) He really tried to do a good job under difficult circumstances and you have to admire that. I got interested in his account of meeting, falling in love with, and marrying a Chinese woman and was glad to be able to read more about them in his second book YES! THAILAND If you like to read about Asia, don't miss PRETTY WOMAN SPITTING. You won't get it for free, but it's well worth the 99 cents.
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Format: Paperback
Have to start this by echoing a couple opinions from another review here by "HombreTel". I too found the in class chapters somewhat boring and very repetitive, to the point they all seemed to be more or less the same chapter and eventually found myself skim reading them as the book went on. As opposed to some of the chapters about life outside class which were far more interesting.

I was also lost on the sense of humour in the book. The author was clearly trying VERY HARD to be funny but it seemed somewhat contrived, rather than a natural ability to write in witty way, and it came off pretty goofy and childish.

He also had an annoying and frequent habit of almost self-narrating within his own story by continuously making conversational style comments to what he'd written, such as:
- "If I didn't make any further attempts to talk to her (and can you see why?) she'd say ..."
- "... I almost lost control of my bladder (and, if you read the last chapter, you know how easily that could have happened)"
... and this type of "parenthesised commentary" happened regularly throughout the whole book, which made for a frustrating read and spoiled the flow of his writing, for me anyway.

Also, whether to prove his point about some Chinese people there not speaking English well or just for added "humour", he'd write their statements in an almost mocking manner e.g.:
- "The Chinese teacher stopped me in the hall ... "Ze students are bad students. I'm sorry. Zey not very good wis English"
... which happened a lot, and he did this literal transcription of his students' obviously not fluent speech also. Again this seemed a bit immature to me and not particularly respectful either.
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Format: Paperback
I've never really wanted to travel to china, it's never been on my list of top 10 places I want to go before I die. This book changed that. I feel like I now have a much better understanding of a culture that vastly different from mine. I get to appreciate the comments about Mormon culture in Utah because that's where I grew up and feel like the author and i shared a lot of similar experiences.
The writing style of this book is much like sitting and listening to a good friend tell you a story. It's funny, happy, heart breaking and if public bathrooms bother you it's gut wrenching.
Just ordered another book by this author and I'm excited to get it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yes China! An English Teacher's Love-Hate Relationship with a Foreign Country is a great book for anyone thinking about teaching overseas. The book goes into the difficulty of being a foreigner and trying to adjust to new surroundings. The book also goes into the difficulty of socializing within a society that is foreign to you. I would definitely recommend this book before working or even traveling to China.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really loved this book. I don't know what is so entertaining about someone being hassled by a classroom full of Chinese kids, but something about it is pretty amusing.

One example of what I like in the book: Nielsen does an activity on the board where he writes I ___YOU on the board and asks students to name a word they could fill in the blank with. "Knife!" shouts one of the students immediately. "I knife you? Uh.. I guess you could say that."

But while his students range from endearing to amusing to annoying, the book isn't about making fun of "Engrish" or belittling English learners--Nielsen is a lot harder on himself in the book than he is on his students--it's about the things that Nielsen learned being in a foreign country and away from his family and friends for the first time.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone considering teaching English in a foreign country, or a young person who wants to live in China for a while, or anyone who has visited Asia and will get a good laugh as they remember the first time they celebrated an American holiday overseas or had to use a public restroom that they weren't prepared for.

I'd also recommend it to those who like the writing style of Bill Bryson, author of "A Walk in the Woods".
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