24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Really Wonderful and Insightful Book,
By A Customer
This review is from: Wedded Strangers: Russian-American Marriages (Hardcover)
I have been living with my Russian boyfriend for 6 years in the U.S. and as our relationship began to become troubled, I began to search for an answer (from relationship problems, self help, communication problems etc.) and I found it in this book. And I honestly should have had it recently before I had the culturally shocking experience of visiting Russia first hand in late August of 2000.
This book does have a couple of chapters on the Old Soviet Union dating back to the 1900's and the political problems that arose from a Russian-American Union and the past difficulties of getting your loved one out of Russia but if you are patient and really want an in depth understanding of your partner this shouldn't be a problem. The book is deeply ingrained into Russia's Past (but from what I have seen the pride of Russian History is ingrained in Russians, whether or not they loved or hated their country). The book also states that many russians wore drab colored clothing. From what I have seen, yes Men still do and seem to prefer the more dark, neutral colors but that seems to be because Russia (apart from Big Cities like Moscow) is rather dirty. But the young women dress in all colors and in some shocking combinations. So yes, that part is somewhat out of date and there may be other things as well but I think that the main interest of this book is of the cultural differences between American women and Russian men, as well as Russian women and American men. Because in everyday life things can get misconstrued as an incompatibility issue or a communication problem but in fact is something that may be derived from a cultural difference. For example, the tone of voice a russian will speak to you in, may seem as if its demeaning or belittling you, or the beginnings of an arguement. The fact that some russians shower once a week and don't change their clothes everyday, wearing them day after day. The fact that sex seems to be a non topic. The close Russian ties with family. Their need for Russian friends. The fact that my russian is late to work everyday and so forth and so forth. Its those little things that happen in your lives day in and day out, that can pose a problem if you're not certain why its happening. It can even feel like an impasse.
Despite some of the outdated material, Lynn Visson has many insights into the russian and american cultures that will make you understand or say that's my Sergei. Which I am so grateful to her for. It helped me to understand things I would have never conceived to be our cultural differences. Now, we can work past them and go on to a Happy Marriage, which before this book probably would not have happened.
But I must say one thing, the book did give me somewhat of an impression that with all these differences how in the world could a russian-american union work. I had this overwhelming sense of doom but you have to apply the book to your own personal situation and the areas that are causing you both misunderstandings or even just to prevent them. Not every part of this book will match everyone but some of it will. I believe anyone in a russian-american relationship, looking for a russian or american mate, dating or otherwise would find this book a must read. It is the only book out there on the subject(and believe me I've looked). And this book has been really a wonderful blessing for me, I hope for you too. I hope this review helps. And Good Luck.
For those of you interested this book is available in Russian, for a russian version go to [...]