To say I loved this book is putting it mildly. Aminta Arrington’s Home is a Roof Over a Pig had me laughing, crying and reminiscing about my years spent living in China. Most interestingly, with this book I learned so much about China that I never knew! My book is now tattered and worn, as I’ve folded down many pages and highlighted text of passages I want to come back to and read again. You will also find out why Arrington chose such a strange title, a question I had from the start but now know.
If you love China and are interested in the culture there as well as a very honest depiction of what it would be like to live there as a foreigner, then I promise you won’t be disappointed to pick this book up. And get it in print—because you’ll want to read it again and probably loan it out!
(I loved reading about their visit to a traditional Chinese home for the holidays. As I was reading I was kicking myself for missing out on doing so many of the cultural things that Aminta and her family experienced. I had five years in China and could have squeezed so much more in! But I enjoyed seeing the adventures through this author’s eyes. You will too, I guarantee it!)
When all-American Aminta Arrington moves from suburban Georgia to a small town in China, she doesn’t go alone. Her army husband and three young children, including an adopted Chinese daughter, uproot themselves too. Aminta hopes to understand the country with its long civilization, ancient philosophy, and complex language. She is also determined that her daughter Grace, born in China, regain some of the culture she lost when the Arringtons brought her to America as a baby.
In the university town of Tai’an, a small city where pigs’ hooves are available at the local supermarket, donkeys share the road with cars, and the warm-hearted locals welcome this strange looking foreign family, the Arringtons settle in . . . but not at first. Aminta teaches at the university, not realizing she is countering the propaganda the students had memorized for years. Her creative, independent (and loud) American children chafe in their classrooms, the first rung in society’s effort to ensure conformity. The family is bewildered by the seemingly endless cultural differences they face, but they find their way. With humor and unexpectedly moving moments, Aminta’s story is appealingly reminiscent of Reading Lolita in Tehran. It will rivet anyone who is thinking of adopting a child, or anyone who is already familiar with the experience. An everywoman with courage and acute cultural perspective, Aminta recounts this transformative quest with a freshness that will delight anyone looking for an original, accessible point of view on the new China.
*If you read Home is a Rood Over a Pig, please take the time to write an honest review on Amazon. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!