Home is a Roof Over a Pig
An American Family's Journey in China
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August 2012 Indie Next List
“Few authors are able to take us inside the daily lives of the Chinese people and turn a spotlight on both the shades of difference between our societies and, perhaps more surprising, the similarities. Love of family, desires for the future, and hope for growth and advancement are themes found in these pages. But so, too, are the pain of generational gaps, fear of change, and interpersonal prejudices that still lead to harshness and even violence. If you want to look through a window at the real China of today, this is the book to read.”
— Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA
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Aminta hopes to understand the country with its long civilization, ancient philosophy, and complex language. She is also determined that her daughter Grace, born in China, regain some of the culture she lost when the Arringtons brought her to America as a baby. In the university town of Tai'an, a small city where pigs' hooves are available at the local supermarket, donkeys share the road with cars, and the warm-hearted locals welcome this strange looking foreign family, the Arringtons settle in . . . but not at first. Aminta teaches at the university, not realizing she is countering the propaganda the students had memorized for years. Her creative, independent (and loud) American children chafe in their classrooms, the first rung in society's effort to ensure conformity. The family is bewildered by the seemingly endless cultural differences they face, but they find their way. With humor and unexpectedly moving moments, Aminta's story is appealingly reminiscent of Reading Lolita in Tehran. It will rivet anyone who is thinking of adopting a child, or anyone who is already familiar with the experience. An everywoman with courage and acute cultural perspective, Aminta recounts this transformative quest with a freshness that will delight anyone looking for an original, accessible point of view on the new China.
Abrams Press, 9781590208991, 320pp.
Publication Date: July 5, 2012
About the Author
Aminta Arrington has an M.A. in international relations from the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. She has written about China for the Seattle Times, and she edited the anthology Saving Grandmother's Face: And Other Tales from Christian Teachers in China. She lives and works in China with her family.