To me, a writing voice is strong when it makes you feel like you have the author or the main character sitting in your lounge room across from you, telling their story. That’s how I felt when I read Tania McCartney’s Beijing Tai Tai.
It’s a memoir about four years Tania spent living in Beijing with her husband and two small children. To me, that’s a brave move and Tania’s account of their time is also brave and honest. She exposes her own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and uses tongue-in-cheek humour to show how she coped with the cultural and lifestyle differences in China’s capital.
Even though I have never been to China, I could relate to Beijing Tai Tai – to worrying about how your kids will cope, missing your home and friends and family, and finding things overwhelming at times.
There is so much love, life and laughter in this book along with beautiful writing. I felt like I was there in Beijing, breathing in the heat and pollution, the tastes and smells of the Beijing lifestyle.
It not only takes great courage to embrace a lifestyle like this, but also to share your experiences with the world. Tania uses humour to show how she dealt with some of the more difficult aspects, but she doesn’t make light of the issues themselves.
Beijing Tai Tai is not a political manifesto. It does introduce the readers to problems of living in China, but not in a ‘hit you over the head with them’ kind of way. You experience them through the eyes of Tania and her family. It really helped me to understand some of the many differences between Eastern and Western thinking.
Beijing Tai Tai is the Eat Love Pray for mothers, and whether you’re planning a trip to China or not, you’ll find it an entertaining read.
BOOK LAUNCH TOMORROW
Tomorrow (18th April) Tania will be launching Beijing Tai Tai at the bookshop of the National Library of Australia in Canberra from 7.30pm to 9.00 pm.
More information and bookings: https://register.eventarc.com/7614/book-launch-beijing-tai-tai-tania-mccartney