Susan Blumbeg Kason is an accomplished writer. She is also a friend of mine. Besides living in the same town, we both have Chinese children. Mine was adopted, but Susan’s was the product of her marriage to a Chinese national, a marriage that is at the center of her recently published memoir Good Chinese Wife.
Good Chinese Wife is a clear-eyed portrait of a marriage gone wrong. In her memoir, Susan describes the infatuation with China and Chinese culture, as well as the youth and naiveté, that propelled her into a relationship with a man she hardly knew. The memoir has all the ingredients of a good book: a riveting, page-turner of a plot, well-drawn characters (a difficult feat when said characters are real people), and an unflinching honesty that shows her desperate attempts to make her marriage work as well as the bravery she exhibits in protecting her young son. The book premiered to critical acclaim, and as a writer myself who is currently working on a memoir, I can only hope I have the skills and especially the courage to look at myself and my life with such candor.
Another great memoir that details the unraveling of a marriage is a book by another friend, Margaret Overton. Margaret and I were high school classmates back in the never-you-mind!s. Her memoir Good In a Crisis has also received rave reviews since it was published in 2012. In it, Margaret describes the disintegration of her marriage, her near-death experience due to a brain aneurysm, and her life after divorce. Despite the fact that Margaret is tall, blond and drop dead gorgeous, she endures the most horrific dating experiences and subsequent down periods in her life. Although the book is at times laugh out loud funny, it is Margaret’s complete honesty that gives the book its meaning and authenticity. I am in awe of her talent and heart.
I highly recommend both Good In a Crisis and Good Chinese Wife to anyone looking for an honest, devastating, but ultimately uplifting story of a woman in crisis.