Book Review: No Chopsticks Required

In 2008, award-winning journalist Katrina Beikoff’s hubsand, Shorty, accepts a one-year job on the English langeuage newspaper, the Shanghai Daily…

… and so begins an year long adventure, with Kartina, Shorty and their two small children, living and working (not the children, obviously) in China.

This book, in my opinion, is a lovely little read, not to hard going and a great one for lying on the couch and reading. It is, essentially, a series of anecdotes about the family’s exploits in China – Shanghai, specifically – from working to schooling, Vegemite and The Great Wall of China (sadly, the two become inseparable) and just general living, really. Like we all do.

Of course, there were the stories about the change in weather,

3 Replies to “Book Review: No Chopsticks Required”

  1. It’s a quick light enjoyabe read. Some fun and poignant moments. I did not get the impression that there was much research done in writing the book. I finished the book feeling a little like I didn’t get my money’s worth. It was really half a book and for the price, quite expensive. Books on China that I found to be good reads that appear to be more well researched and value for money, (with lots more information) include China Cuckoo by Mark Kitto, China Road by Rob Gifford, Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler and China Shakes The World by James Kynge. (I went to China for ten days in late September 2010 and found it a fasinatiing place and have been reading books on China ever since – in between reading novels).

  2. Thanks for your comments, George.

    I’m not sure, perosnally, that it actually required a lot of research on China (or anything) given it was just a retelling of personal accounts and experiences. Surely she’s pretty researched on her own life, yes?

    I personally wouldn’t have called it a “book on China” per se. I do love reading books written by those who grew up in some of the darker days of the country (Pearl S. Buck has written a fantasic book, and Wild Swans is another I’ve loved) both personal accounts, but much deeper than this one.

    I found this a lighthearted read, but interesting as well. I love anthropology – when I grow up I might even be an anthropologist! 😀

  3. My family and I spent 18 months in France in 2008 and when I read this book I felt like she was describing the exact emotions we felt regarding culture. It was almost as though you could change around some of the words and it would apply to our family as well. A fantastic book that I really enjoyed and couldn’t put down. Really down to earth and true to real facts without getting bogged down in too much boring factual detail. Everyone read it !

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