Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A book about Americans

I read this book review back in December, and found it so interesting that I grabbed the book as soon as I could. I finally finished it a few days ago. (Yes, I'm slow, but I read lots of books simultaneously, and I think the print version of this one has 400 pages?)

Anyway, it was quite an interesting and easy read. Somewhere I saw a comment  online, saying that the contents come out to about 90% exact truth and 10% blatant lies. Or something like that: a good, high percentage of very insightful observation and a bit that just makes you wonder who was putting that noodle on his ear. Er, that is, who was pulling his leg there. Still, most of it fits into the first category and makes me wish that more Russians/Ukrainians would read it and drop some of the myths about American life that they might have heard.

Probably the very best chapter was the one about babysitters in America and babushki in Russia. That, and the commentary on the educational systems in both countries was really good. I underlined and made notes throughout the whole book, so hopefully, I can come back and share some of those later. Maybe I can make it into a little blog series.

Here's the first bit I underlined out of the whole book. This is how I feel about my life here, too:
If you go to a foreign country for a few weeks, you can write about book about it. If you live there for half a year, you might risk writing an article. But it is worth staying there longer and digging into local life, history and culture, so that, if you're not a fool, you'll begin to feel that you don't have enough information and understand how little you know, how little you can judge the country and its people, their motivations and the logic of their behavior, psychology and mindset. The longer you are acquainted with a country, the harder it is to write about it.

4 comments:

Mom said...

I will be interested to read your continuing series of comments.

We love you dearly!

Hu Family said...

love that quotation!

Unknown said...

Would love to read the book, and give it to my Russian relatives ;)

Ola said...

I don't know why it published my comment as Unknown, but it's Ola speaking ;)