I don’t really do book reviews. To be honest, I haven’t even been reading that many books since getting my English Lit degree six years ago. The thought of a book being an enemy combatant that had to be conquered (especially with “Enlightenment” Period literature) has seemed to have pickled my mind when it comes to actually enjoying text. I did however read “Wedded Strangers – The Challenges of Russian-American Marriages” by Lynn Visson.
So, why in the hell would I read this? It’s not fiction. It seems like a dry subject with little appeal. And most of all, it’s just nothing most folks deal with. It was mostly due to the fact that a friend discovered it in a home she’s house-sitting and lent it to me, since I was in a relationship with a Russian for three years. So, it was more curiosity that brought me in to the folds of the cover than anything else.
Overall, the book brings up some decent points. It only does these after you get past the first 100 pages or so of examples that start out the book and get very tedious. I know that the author is trying to set a subtext and foundation for what she wants to discuss, but it goes over the top and really, she ends up discussing little. The book seems to read a lot like an Ethnic Studies class at UC Berkeley, in that it’s very good on citing many, many examples, but heavily lacks any analysis or real point.
There were a few things that the book brought up which were interesting, but that I already knew. Russian and American peoples have very different cultures and that can cause a strain on a relationship. Let’s be honest though, relationships are tough. They require a lot of work and sometimes it just isn’t enough. This can happen with someone from around the globe or just down the block.
About the only person this book might be a decent read for are the generally curious people out there and the people who have just gotten in to this type of relationship. It provides some markers of things to look out for, but really, everyone is different and the generalizations of the book (which you do kinda have to do in order to write something like this) don’t always play out with everyone. For instance, my relationship didn’t end due to cultural differences, but because we were just different people at our core. I think we both could have been natives of one country or the other and the same result would have been arrived at.