A journey across China and through the soul of a young American, Double Happiness combines exquisite travel writing with a groundbreaking story of coming of age in the era of globalization.
Tony Brasunas had never left the United States nor taught a class on anything when he arrived in hot, coastal Guangzhou, China, armed only with a beginner's grasp of the language. He was thrown in front of thirty-seven awestruck ninth graders. Trial and error in the classroom, trickery and generosity in the street markets, and conversations over mouth-watering rabbit with new friends fueled a hunger to understand China and drew him deeper and deeper into his new community.
When the school year ended, a harder and sweeter journey began. With just a backpack and a handful of wild expectations, he set off alone across the vastness of China, along the Silk Road in the north, and to the edge of ancient Tibet in the west. His rugged path brought friendship, danger, romance, and wild encounters with fate that transformed his basic understanding of right and wrong, beauty and love, suffering and happiness. Double Happiness is a book for armchair travelers, English teachers, China buffs, adventure backpackers, young people in their twenties and thirties seeking a place in this swiftly changing world, and readers of all ages curious about a young man's internal awakening in a foreign land.
It's hard to believe but there are many people who have never been outside this country. Their only perception of the outside world is through books or images they see on the television. If you have traveled the world like me, than you know there is no greater beauty than experiencing these places first hand. For those who may never get the chance, when you read a book like Double Happiness, for many places that fill your dreams, you get the opportunity to live vicariously through the author.
Never having been out of the country and getting the opportunity to teach in China, author Tony Brasunas penned his experience in a narrative that's broad imagery and vivid passages brought China to life. He really made you feel as if you were there with him. From traveling the local markets, to his students, to experiencing some of the most exotic and dreamed about wonders of the country, you really fall in love with it through him. I was really impressed by the detail of not just the physical aspects of the places he traveled but the in depth comprehension of the culture, the people and the history considering this was his first experience abroad.
His experience filled with adventure, exploration, introspective enlightening was a story for those who love to travel could appreciate. Going into this experience as a teacher and leaving as the one who was taught leaves the reader with an appreciation if you have a chance to see any part of the world than it's worth exploring.
Reviewed by Michelle Bowles
Publisher: Torchpost Publishing
Publication date: 12/6/2013