Dr. Eric E. Clarke
Johnson Tribe Publishing (2016)
Reviewed by Kai Yaniz for Reader Views (7/17)
“Living in America: Hilarious and Provocative Tales of a Foreign Student,” by Dr. Eric E. Clarke, shares the multiple experiences of moving to the United States as a foreign student from Guyana and the culture shock the author experienced.
The purpose of the book wasn’t merely about the author sharing his experiences in a different country; it also portrayed living in a different country during the time of segregation, lack of technology, and the importance of maintaining our cultures despite living outside your home country.
The writing felt very matter-of-fact, without much context for some of the sections. It also lacked much dialogue, which would have been beneficial for the reader to feel closer to the story. The story presents as if the author wanted to get his memories down on paper, and then decided not to expound any further on each experience.
This is a book that not only portrays the author’s real experiences in a different country, but it also occurs in the 1950’s – 1960’s, therefore, more description was necessary. The story also didn’t have much in terms of transitional words or explanation, which, at times, made the story challenging to follow. There were multiple parts of the book that I re-read over again because I thought I missed an aspect of the story although I didn’t; there wasn’t enough detail provided to understand the full story.
I did like that the author divided the book in chapters with a specific focus. For example, there is a chapter dealing with finances and another discussing the food. The book was written in an anecdotal nature compared to a free-flowing story, which I thought was an interesting structure. There were some sections that a chronological telling would have worked best however; overall, the structure works for this story. I also liked learning about the differences in culture perspective for the author and admired him for staying true to himself, and the values he adopted in Guyana.
Overall, “Living in America: Hilarious and Provocative Tales of a Foreign Student,” by Dr. Eric E. Clarke offers perspective on the challenges foreigners are faced with when living outside their home country. It shows the reader how difficult times were in the mid-century for immigrants and that no matter what you are faced with, stand tall and proud of who you are and where you came from.