Robin Sharma, an international leadership guru, says that change is "hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end." Indeed, this is the path Adela Chavez figuratively travels as told by her aunt, Susan McDonald. Practically at a moment's notice, Adela uproots herself from her friends, family, and a promising career in Mexico, to follow her husband to China despite initial hesitations and their firstborn on the way.
Adela catalogues both her frustrations and childlike wonder of Shanghai in a way that is charming and humorous. The reader empathizes with her vulnerability in moving to a country where there are no instant friends or family to help cope with culture clash, which Adela affectionately calls her "China Days"—expectations that are taken for granted by Westerners. She finds a family in other expatriates who live there, however, and the women help her to adapt and thrive.
One heartbreaking struggle, however, is Adela's effort to save her marriage while going through this difficult transition. With a husband who does not want to fully integrate his life in with the culture of the country he's adopted and is rarely home or willing to be with his family other than on his terms, Adela begins to dread the inevitable path this change is leading her down. One of her friends and mentor said that moving to a different country did one of two things to a marriage: It either broke it or made it stronger.
Adela's encounters with Shanghai and its people are spoken with an air of wonder, excitement, and joy, despite it all. This is a book that will leave a lasting impression with the reader for years to come.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review