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The Foremost Good Fortune Paperback – March 6, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Most authors of books on relocating to an exotic part of the world are thrilled to be on their journey. Susan Conely is openly ambivalent and that is part of what makes this book so eye-opening and interesting. It's her husband's love of China that led the family across the world to where he had found a two year job. Her sons were resistant and unhappy at first, but then they seemed to be adjusting faster than she was. Though Conely is both accomplished and independent she did not arrive in China knowing the language and so found herself uncomfortably more dependent on her husband than she ever had been at home in Maine. Starting from scratch she began learning the language, finding friends and enjoying her life in a new and sometimes beautiful country.
Then she got cancer. That's a journey I've been on, and her description of how deeply disorienting it is, how it changes the way you think and look at the world in ways neither you or your loved ones can always anticipate were true to my experience.
A well written page turner.
The second half of the book, the pace seemed to slow a little as Susan (author and cancer sufferer) comes to terms with her cancer, and ponders the reasons why she had it and moving on with life, knowing that it could return, and longing for the life of USA, whilst slowly embracing the Chinese way.
I became a little bored with parts of the second half - too much self reflection for my taste, though others will no doubt disagree.
Book gives a glimpse into China but ultimately I felt unsatisfied.
Susan and her husband Tony, as well as their sons Aiden and Thorne, move from their warm, cozy Maine home to halfway across the world to Beijing. Tony is well versed in Chinese living, but it is a completely alien nation to the sons and to Susan. The boys are enrolled in an international school, and each family member must learn to live and function in this new land, since they are to live here for two years. Aiden and Thorne begin to learn the language, and slowly but surely they begin to adapt to living here. This ties into one part of the memoir that I did not enjoy. Susan is distant and almost cold to her children because they are beginning to learn the Chinese way of life while she is struggling with her own self alienation and lack of Chinese communication skills.
Over time, Susan too begins to speak a bit of the language, and the entire family begins to make new friends from not just China but all over the world. Everything seems to be balancing out, and the family is settling in to the Asian landscape. But as the ominous, shadowy undertone that carries through the pages of this memoir, there is more drama ahead.
Susan feels two small lumps in her breast, and seeks treatment in a Beijing hospital.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a chronicle of the author's family move to China, her diagnosis of cancer, moving back to the US for treatment, going back to China, and then going home. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have lived in China and traveled there since 1986. What I liked about Conley's book was how it was very honest and unpretentious. Read morePublished 4 months ago by William Stauffer
Reading this book made me feel that I had experienced living in Bejing with my two boys. So fascinating!Published 9 months ago by Elizabeth Hayhoe
Cultural adaptation and traumatic adaptation are much the same. How Susan deals with both provides a lesson for every reader. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Judy Ann Ho Ching
The author relocates to Beijing with two little boys and deals with uncertainty of being in very different life without being able to speak the language. Read morePublished 18 months ago by October customer
Loved this book. So glad to hear Susan triumphed over the cancer scare and is in good health now!Published 23 months ago by Meo
Recommended reading. Interesting read of how innovative and adaptive Susan and her children were. Enjoyed the chinese expressions in hanyu pinyin.Published on May 1, 2014 by Theresa
but somewhat repetitious and overall depressing. I was hoping for more in-depth writing about China's countryside and people not hired as employees.Published on April 17, 2014 by Werner