Book Review: How Sweet the Bitter Soup by Lori Qian

How Sweet the Bitter Soup

Author: Lori Qian

Publication Date: 13 August 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction: Memoir

Pages: 296

Publisher: She Writes Press

Her mom was working as a maid. Her dad’s Alzheimer’s was in high gear. And the rent on her parents’ small Chicago apartment had just gone up. Again. But Lori was holding it all together: helping care for her dad and pay her family’s bills, figuring out how to navigate graduate school and four jobs on top of her family responsibilities, and, somehow, continuing to believe that there was more to life than this.

And there was. An exciting job teaching at a prestigious school in China. Although the previous month, she had turned down a job offer in Iowa―thinking it was too far away from her family―she felt completely at ease accepting the job in China. Grasping on to the fierce determination she’d had since childhood, Lori found herself in Guangzhou, China, where she fell in love with the culture and with a man from a tiny town in Hubei province. What followed was a transformative adventure―one that will inspire readers to use the bitter to make life even sweeter.

I don’t typically read a lot of memoirs since non-fiction doesn’t tend to be my go-to genre. I was initially drawn to this book because I loved that the author made the decision to give up the comfortable (culturally speaking) life that she had in order to make a new life in China, and she did it while being so positive and optimistic.

This is an eye-opening memoir that really highlights the cultural differences between America and China but in a way that makes you love and appreciate each for what they have to offer. Lori didn’t just go to China as a foreigner to make some extra cash and ignore the culture, which a lot of tourists are guilty of. Rather, she made the conscious choice to fully immerse herself in this foreign land despite the constant barriers and obstacles that she was faced with.

And what’s the age old saying, you can’t help who you fall in love with? That’s definitely true in Lori’s case as well. She fell in love and decided to get married in Hubei making her and her husband the NINTH interracial couple in history to be married there. Just imagine the amount of hoops that these two had to jump through. Actually don’t imagine it, read it and experience it because it really is a beautiful story.

Thank you to Lori Qian, Kate Rock Book Tours, and She Writes Press for my copy of this book. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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