Monday, March 11, 2013

The Natural Laws of Good Luck: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage by Ellen Graf

After reading about dating, dancing, and whoring, I figured I should read something about marriage, too. This book isn't my type, and I can't remember why I bought it. I couldn't even remember where—I could have sworn it was at Frugal Muse but it has a label from After-words so I must be wrong. Plus it was $11.50 used, and normally when I take a chance on a book it's really cheap. My best guess is either I was in an adventurous mood or I was desperate to find something to buy.

Whatever the circumstances, I'm glad I bought and read The Natural Laws of Good Luck. I enjoyed it, and besides, did I really want to read yet another New York City dating memoir instead? (I didn't totally get away from New York, though; this book is set upstate.)

Graf is a divorced mother of five who is just a couple of years from being an empty-nester when a neighbor comes to see her with a proposition. She tells Graf that it isn't good to be alone and that her brother in China is also alone. Soon after, Graf takes the incredible leap of faith to travel to China to meet and marry this man. Her husband Lu Zhong-hua gives up life as a successful businessman in China to marry a woman he just met and start over in America.

The book chronicles their first few years as they adjust to each other and their cultural differences. They go through a lot together, with Graf sharing stories of frustration, fun, sadness, and joy along with medical, financial, and parenting challenges. Remembering what it was like for me to adjust to living with my wife, I cannot imagine how difficult it would be if we had grown up in different worlds and barely shared a language.

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