Picture this: you are a mother of two young boys and your husband has recently accepted a new job in Beijing. You do not speak Chinese, but you are brave enough to pack up your kids and your household and move halfway around the world. This is exactly what happened to author Susan Conley, and The Foremost Good Fortune is the memoir of Conley’s two and a half years in China.
I have to admit that I really enjoy hearing about life in other countries. And an American’s take on life abroad puts things in a context I can understand. Susan Conley’s experiences make for a terrific book. China isn’t just another country, it’s a completely different culture, complete with a form of government that is more than alien to Americans. I found Conley’s perspective on a socialist market economy fascinating. As a mother myself, I also sympathized with the struggle her children were going through in the transition.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Susan Conley discovers lumps on her left breast about one year into their stay. Conley likens a world with cancer to be as frightening and alien as China itself. I loved her parallel story of navigating the new Susan-Conley-with-cancer at the same time as she was adjusting to life in Beijing.
This book gave me much food for thought about freedom, our need for human contact, faith and what it means to be healthy. The Foremost Good Fortune is a terrific book – I would recommend it for book clubs and will definitely tell all my friends to read it! A shout of thanks to Goodreads and Random House for sending me a complimentary copy of this memoir.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2011