I picked up this book at our library just a few days ago; I am on Amazon because I want to by several copies for myself, family and friends. Why? Because I myself am from one of the places Mr. Frazier visited and described - Irkutsk, born in and departed from.
I absolutely love this book. From the moment he lands in Moscow, it is like I am back (in time a bit, I left in 1998) but how realistic and funny he makes it sound. The author does not make it all rosy and fine so others would flock to Moscow. Just that description of him and his friend visiting a "regular people's" bathroom made me laugh so hard, my kids ran to me to see if I was all right.
It was SO TRUE!!!! I never have been to a "foreign visitor" restroom",myself being an "Intourist" guide in summers, but the author would not have a reality shock without that one. NO, he does not exaggerate at all about anything! I read some books by Americans who visited Russia and the details (someone complains that Ian Frazier is a whiner!!??); these authors complained at everything that was actually a level "good" for Russia - give me a brake!
Mr. Ian travels, does not speak native, DOES NOT COMPLAIN and goes on and on and comes back for more!!!!
In my 13 years in the states, I never complained; I love this country and have not gone back since (soon, when kids get older to be able to travel those 29 hours of flight not including waiting in the airports).
Thank you, Mr. Frazier for a virtual travel back to my native land with such reality and fun that it made me dream of my childhood.