Nicole's Reviews > The Foremost Good Fortune

The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan      Conley
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's review
Jun 15, 2011

it was ok
Read in June, 2011

This memoir really fell short of my expectations. The first third of the book the author complained about not fitting in in her new country, China. She actually begrudged her sons, 4 and 6, for mastering Mandarin faster than she did. It is horrible for me to admit this, but when Conley finally went to the doctor's (around page 100), I thought, "Oh, good. She's finally going to get to the cancer part." Bad, I know, but thus far the book was just another "ugly American" whining. The unfortunate thing is she wrote for another 175 pages without saying much about how the cancer affected her or her family. She went to doctor's appointments, flew back to the States for surgery, and returned to China. No real soul-searching here. Neither did she talk much about what she has learned as she adjusted to life in such a different culture. One thing that really bugged me was how often her kids asked about religion, death, and the interaction between the two. Conley never answered them. Yes, she didn't know exactly what, if anything, she believed, but she had plenty of time to come up with SOME answer for her sons. At the very end, Conley got trapped in an elevator on the one year anniversary of her surgery. She got angry and overreacted, lashing out at the building super, her husband (on her cell phone) for bringing her to China, China itself. She knew she was acting irrationally, but she also knew that she was venting her anger at having cancer. This was finally real. I wish the whole book had been like that. Conley is a professional author; I expected better.
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Kelly Stevens You missed the point entirely ! To be dislocated from Maine of all places and enter another country ..involves culture shock.. And her struggle to identify with her sons was real .. To call it complaining is clearly ridiculous..

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