“Some events are jinxed. From its very beginning, the trip to climb Song Shan was certainly one of them.”“China Bound” by Randy Green.
When Randy Green emailed the first chapter of China Bound I was immediately hooked — couldn’t wait to read more in fact. So I danced a jig when the rest popped into my inbox a few weeks later, along with an invitation to review the book on Amazon.com.
Randy’s a long-time reader of TOML — and I’ve always been intrigued as to how come someone with such an ordinary-sounding English name was making comments all the way from China — so of course, I said “Sure!”
WELL! Good old Amazon wouldn’t let me review anything. Apparently, I have to part with $50 (USD) of my hard-earned cash to gain that privilege. But until I reach that milestone…
“Hey, I own a blog … I’ll just write my own review.”
So now, let me tempt you into Randy Green’s story of living, working and becoming “China Bound.”
A Memoir Worth Reading
“Imagine that I am your old friend, back from China for a visit. We are sitting in a quiet coffee house in your hometown, talking about my experiences in China.”
So begins the preface to China Bound, setting the tone for Randy’s book.
It is not a novel or a thriller. There are no plot twists and turns; no villains jumping out of aeroplanes or crashing cars. China Bound is a memoir. A story of genuine people, finding their way through life — as we all do.
This is the tale of how a quiet, small-town teacher from Missouri found himself living in Zhengzhou, a large, bustling city in northern China, teaching English at its ultra-new university campus. Yes, Randy literally packed his life into three suitcases and flew off to the other side of the world.
Culture shock plus! A jumble of new experiences with changes big and small. So many of the little things we take for granted, suddenly no longer in his life.
No car — and such crazy traffic that he wouldn’t dare to drive anyway! A complete
But on the plus side, a world of new food… culture… history…and above all folks to meet and get to know. Randy dived right in. Turns out that he loved China so much he never left.
Did you know that China has a tropical island paradise nestling off its southern coast? (It’s a Chinese version of Hawaii, called Hainan, and it’s beautiful.)
Or that eating exclusively with chopsticks is a good way to lose weight?
And that roses grow prolifically in Zhengzhou?
If your knowledge of China — like mine — is limited to the stereotypes you’ve seen on TV, then reading China Bound will open your eyes and whet your appetite for more.
I love reading autobiographies and memoirs.
Your journey, your passions, what makes you tick. I’m endlessly fascinated, not because I’m nosy, but because of those all-important connections that your story makes between us.
I can’t walk in your shoes but if I read your story — and you know mine — then we connect.
The world will be a better place if we all strive that bit harder for compassion and empathy. And that’s where China Bound leads its readers. Into the world of an expat American in China, learning daily and taking us right along with him.
P.S. I’m not the only one to have loved China Bound. Here’s a snippet of one review: “The way the author writes about his experiences…made me feel like I was right there with him on his journey.”
You can read more reviews and buy the book on Amazon here.
(These links are not ‘affiliate links’ and I won’t make any money if you click on them.)
And you can find Randy’s blog here.
Have you read China Bound? Know of any other great memoirs to read?
You’d get me dancing again if you left a comment on the blog or let others know about this post.
Other Reviews On TOML
Confessions of a Bookworm – AKA Why I never read in airports.
2 Replies to “China Bound: Looking Forward and Gazing Back.”
I did indeed know that you were loving your new life in China and having great fun. That comes shining through.
Of course Yuan Fen. I couldn’t agree more with your wife. I know that I had to come South to meet my husband😎
Thanks, Lyn, for your kind words and insightful review. A writer writes because they feel a deep need which only discrete words on paper or a computer screen can satisfy. Some would say that writers write because of a desire to leave their thoughts in an immutable form which will still convey their thoughts and experiences after the writer is gone. But, that’s a bit metaphysical for early in the morning, so let’s just say that we humans love to tell stories and want others to read them.
I am so pleased that you enjoyed China Bound. I hope you got the feeling that I was having great fun as I began my new life. Indeed, I was. I thought of putting this book in the Reinventing Your Life category because “relocate, rebuild, reinvent” is the underlying theme throughout my book… and that doesn’t require a new time zone, only a new way of thinking.
P.S. If you want the latest thoughts on the concept of Yuan Fen, you could ask my Chinese wife. I am still a direct actionist American, resisting the idea that some form of Fate (with a capital “F”) directed my actions. But my wife would answer, “Of course, Yuan Fen. You had to come to China so we could meet.” And, the result of that meeting is another book, Chester The Messer, about my six-year-old American expat son.