Bookworm's Reviews > Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion

Kosher Chinese by Michael Levy
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's review
Jul 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: china, chinese, expat, expatriot, peace-corps, judaism
Read in July, 2012

A surprisingly fast read about a Peace Corps volunteer who travels to China for two years and about his experiences. It was a really enjoyable read, although it was not quite what I expected. I thought his religion might play a little more into the narrative, but it wasn't.

Thankfully the author mostly steers clear from stereotypes and orientalism. Indeed, I think he did a pretty good job in showing what might seem pretty weird/oppressive/uncomfortable for Westerners, but was completely normal for where he was without coming across as judgmental or with the White Man's Burden. There are some passages that show that China is not so different from the US, especially in terms of economic mobility and availability of opportunities to those with money and/or education.

It's worth contrasting his experiences with the PC versus for when he returns to teach in Beijing, which seems to be an entirely different planet in some ways.

To be fair, some of the story really dragged along for me (especially his side stories about basketball and game tournaments). But I put that down to fact it just wasn't something I cared for.

An enjoyable read, definitely made my plane ride go by faster.
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