Monday, June 03, 2013

I Have Iraq in My Shoe by Gretchen Berg

Gretchen Berg, a single thirty-something American laid off during the recession, clearly had to take action in order to get a handle on her mounting credit card debt. So what did she do? She moved to Iraq to teach English. Her plan was this: earn a substantial tax-free salary and obtain other money-saving benefits that could substantially help alleviate her monster monetary crisis.

This story had the potential for being treated as a serious in-depth exposition examining the life of a single female expat living in Kurdistan. However, this was not what Berg had in mind and based on the result, I am very pleased she thought otherwise. Instead, she chose a humorous path in recounting her experiences, encounters, and hardships while trying to fit into a culture hugely different from her own. I couldn’t help but chuckle while reading about her interactions and exasperation with co-workers and students, her contentious exchanges with airline employees, and her unabashed passion for shoes!

Certainly this was one of the most entertaining books I’ve read of late. Berg’s levity keeps the story moving while also keeping it real. From beginning to end the humor doesn’t abate – continuing even right through “About the Author.” Definitely plan on adding this amusing tale to your reading list and find out how Berg makes out.

I Have Iraq in My Shoe can be found on the VBPL catalog. You might also like Schizophrenic in Japan by Mike Rogers, who presents another fun and witty book from an expatriate.

No comments: