|Title:||Apologies To My Censor|
The expat bubble
The story: MM is a young Canadian who decides to go to China. He seems to make this decision rather spontaneously. Upon arriving in Beijing, he takes on a job at an English-language newspaper, finds an apartment, roams the bar scene, takes on a few other odd jobs, tries to write for international publications, succeeds at writing for international publications and eventually returns to North America, a bit wiser.
Mitch Moxley coming of age
This reads pretty much like your typical story of a young Western expat in China. Thus, it is also a sort of “coming-of-age” story. MM does some of the typical things an expat can do in China, like “playing the foreigner” for Chinese companies who want to give themselves an international look. Or like dancing in front of a Chinese audience. Or like dating. Some of these things he seems to do passively, kind of just floating around, while other things seem to motivate him, making him take on a more active role. Journalism is one of these things.
For me as a reader, it was precisely these “active” parts that carried the story. Maybe just because it is more interesting to follow a dude around who actually seems to strive for something.
In my opinion, this one is neither very good nor very bad. The book has its moments, and it captures most of the ridiculousness of the expat experience pretty well. That being said, it is not overly interesting either. MM’s writing is okay, even humorous at times, but there is a certain shallowness to it all.
There was one thing I liked though: at one point, MM observes that being in China seems to make people feel like they are never fully adult. Like life is just not so serious. I think this is a very important observation, and it does not only apply to China, but to any “expat” experience anywhere.
If you are not fully immersed in your surroundings, then life will feel a bit less serious to you. You will have no immediate peer pressure, and therefore, you will feel free.
It was an okay book.