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Yes China! An English Teacher's Love-Hate Relationship with a Foreign Country Paperback – July 29, 2011
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I only read this book up to halfway before putting it down permanently ... no further comment. The one star was for the effort.Published 6 days ago by J3B
I found the book so horrible that I erased it from my kindle after reading 1/3 of it. Most to blame are the people to send such an incompetent, ignorant and immature person be... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Spyglass
I used to live in northeast China the biggest city you've never heard of, Changchun. Reading his book was an enjoyable trip down memory lane.Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Written in a different style.... I like this book and will go look art his others. Seriously, I'm cheap but this book is under priced.Published 19 months ago by Kindle Customer
It's an interesting look inside teaching English to school age children in China. Its a little slow at times.Published 20 months ago by AddisonJ
This is the type of book that you have to take with a grain of salt. It takes a lot of guts to write your memoirs and put your thoughts and feelings about a subject out there for... Read morePublished 23 months ago by M. Jordan
I usually enjoy these kind of books but I didn't enjoy this one at all. Most people who travel to work in another country are positive people and he just seemed to hate it from... Read morePublished on June 27, 2014 by Joann R. Greene
I had a tough time reading this book. Being an English teacher, and having taught in other countries, Clark's negative attitude about so many things was difficult to swallow. Read morePublished on March 18, 2014 by Ryan
I guess because I spent so much time teaching in China, i found his experiences less than interesting. Read morePublished on December 13, 2013 by Terri Adams