For an open and honest look at expat life in China, I highly recommend Mitch Moxley’s memoir, Apologies to My Censor: The High and Low Adventures of a Foreigner in China (Harper Perennial, 2013). It’s also a great book for providing inspiration to anyone who moves to a new country or tries to make it in a competitive field.
Moxley moved to Beijing on a whim in 2007, a year before the Olympics. He was a freelance writer in Toronto and needed a big change in his life. Beijing gave him that change and so much more. And although Moxley had his ups and downs in Beijing, it was quite apparent by the end of the book that moving to China was a brilliant decision. Unlike many China memoirs written by North American men, Moxley’s delves into the taboo territory of dating. He writes about loneliness, the small dating pool, and the difficulties many face in cross-cultural dating (he discloses that he can’t speak for all, but this was a common theme amongst many of his friends).
I also loved reading about his writing career and how he felt insecure about his first job in China, writing and editing for the state-owned China Daily newspaper. But as the reader later sees, Moxley learned more about Chinese culture at China Daily than he would have at a foreign paper. In the long run, his experience at China Daily allowed him to get along better in China than many other expats. His chapters about Mongolian prostitution and trafficking, as well as the African community in Guangzhou, are fabulous and give the reader a look into a China that many people would never otherwise read about.
One of the most difficult parts of living abroad is deciding when and if to go home. I also enjoyed and appreciated this part of the book.