Dear Alice: Letters Home from American Teachers Learning to Live in China

Out of print; not currently available

Dear Alice: Letters Home from American Teachers Learning to Live in China book cover
Thompson, Phyllis L., ed.
1998. 338 pp.
ISBN 1-55729-060-1

Dear Alice is a collection of lively letters from the field that capture the hilarity and pain, the sober insights and wild adventures of Americans trying to adapt to mainland China. The artless, first-person style of letters written to a friend packs a special emotional charge. It's all here — anguish, laughter, confusion, and love — the whole human comedy painted in the words of the actors themselves. Other books about China give only one writer's view of one place or one time in China. This collection speaks more universally because the letters come from many cities and many observers over several years.

The book is about Americans adapting to China as much as it is about China itself. They learn a little about China and a lot about themselves, and they pass on that knowledge in ways that every reader can understand. For anyone going to China or who has been there, for anyone studying the dynamics of intercultural contact, and for armchair adventurers who want to get the feel of life in an alien world, this collection captures it all. Readers will laugh, muse, and learn along with these intrepid explorers and, in the end, will understand better why Rachel writes home, "Things that have happened by mistake have turned out to be some of the best things in my life. Thanks for this gift, Alice. China has opened a new world to me."

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