Bergers Book Reviews

The Natural Laws of Good Luck

Author: Ellen Graf
Publisher: Trumpeter Books
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-59030-833-2
Pages: 272
Price: $15.95

Author’s website
Zhong-hua’s brush paintings
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Ellen is forty-six, divorced and lonely, so she doesn’t resist when her Chinese friend suggests maybe Ellen and her brother, Zhong-hua, might like each other. But first Ellen must travel to China to meet him – a man who speaks almost no English. Surprisingly, Ellen and Zhong-hua get along and agree to marry. After processing his immigration paperwork, he finally arrives in upstate New York, where they live in Ellen’s house. Now the fun begins, as Ellen realizes Zhong-hua operates by a whole different cultural standard than she’s used to.

Zhong-hua believes that a man doesn’t need to let his wife know where he is going, and disappears frequently. This might not be such a bad thing, ordinarily, except Zhong-hua gets lost easily, and still doesn’t speak much English. He also doesn’t think it’s necessary to apologize, offer greetings, or do any of the other niceties Ellen expects from a husband. In fact, bumping into her is considered a form of affection.

The house falls into disrepair, several cars and various pieces of machinery meet their ends, and both of their old dogs grow feeble. But when Zhong-hua’s health takes a scary turn, these two mismatched lovers pull together to try to make the best of things.

Although this memoir is touted as being humorous, I found The Natural Laws of Good Luck incredibly touching. Ellen shows remarkable patience with her culturally inept husband, and gives in to his many demands with good grace. Living in a foreign country is hard on Zhong-hua, and Ellen allows for his comfort, even if at times it conflicts with her own. Both strive to be loving and make their marriage work, and it’s encouraging to see them look past their shortcomings to see the good in each other. I highly recommend this wonderfully sweet love story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 21, 2011 Posted by | marriage, memoir | Leave a comment

Discovering Your Amazing Marriage

Authors: Jason & Debby Coleman
Publisher: Seraphina Press
Genre: Marriage / Christian
ISBN: 978-0984196531
Pages: 186
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Do you have an amazing marriage? If you don’t, would you like to have one? After twenty years together, Jason and Debby Coleman have discovered how to keep their marriage going strong, and they want to share their ideas with us.

Discovering Your Amazing Marriage is written from a Christian perspective with a Biblical view of every topic. These include communication, forgiveness, resolving conflict, protecting against infidelity, and agreeing in advance that no matter what, you’ll stay married.

Jason and Debby share some of their struggles and how they learned how to handle them while making their marriage even better. And they share how God views marriage, and what He expects from us once we take our vows.

The advice the Colemans share is sound, and for the most part, healthy for a marriage. But in the area of infidelity, I felt some of their advice was fear-based, as a result of their own infidelity issues, and a strong marriage didn’t need such safeguards.

Even if you’re not a Christian, the Colemans believe you can benefit from this book. Just skip over the Biblical perspective sections if they don’t pertain to you. But don’t just read it – put these ideas into practice, and you can’t help but have an amazing marriage, too.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

February 9, 2011 Posted by | Christian, marriage | Leave a comment