Book Review: An American Bum in China

When I was asked to review “An American Bum in China,” I agreed. What I received in the mail was a relatively small volume, 4-by-7 inches and 114 pages, not including prologue.

I don’t hold a book’s length alone against it, though. John Steinbeck’s “The Red Pony,” just 100 pages, is one of his greatest works. So, length is not a problem.

What I’m curious about, though, is where in the subject of this highly engaging, creative nonfiction narrative, Matthew Evans, a native of Muscatine, Iowa, fits as author into the book narrated by Tom Carter who met Evans several times in China. While both Evans and Carter were expatriates, or at least adventurers, the outcome of their adventures was far different.

As Carter tells it, Evans went to China to meet a supposed girlfriend who turned out to not really be girlfriend material at all – except possibly with other girls. That and other events sent Evans into a tailspin of bumbling happenstances.

See Michael Tidemann's Writers & Writing column in the March 19 Kossuth County Advance.

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