Mitch Moxley's autobiography about his time spent as a journalist in Beijing during the years surrounding the 2008 Summer Olympics is engaging and quirky. Clearly, Moxley enjoys living life to the fullest and he does not limit himself to reporting stories, he gets out there and becomes the story. His love for China, warts and all, makes Apologies to My Censor a thrilling read. I'm a lover of traveling and travel writing and this made me want to experience China.
It's Moxley's willingness to "say yes" to new experiences and his willingness to go outside of his comfort zone that makes you root for him. He poses in an ill-fitting suit for an the China version of Cosmopolitan Magazine's 100 Most Eligible Bachelor spread. He attempts to act the part of a suitor in a music video, much of his efforts so bad that the end up edited out. He goes on a dating show and wows the girls with some Elvis swagger.
The best chapter was one where he details working as a pretend business man for a company that needed western men to give them face. The concept of face and saving face pops up frequently. In this situation it's nearly unbelievable and fascinating to read. The men were hired to attend meetings and basically sit around an office and pretend to work for the company. In addition to detail the events in this book, Moxley sold an article about his experience to the Atlantic. The chapter is hilariously and aptly titled, Rent a White Guy.
Moxley also speaks candidly about this struggles as a journalist and to form a life abroad. He makes many friends from various parts of the world, all chasing their own dreams in China. A reoccurring theme is one of permanence and the inability to settle down when you don't know how long you plan on staying. Moxley has difficulties forming lasting relationships and often speaks with envy of his friends back home in Canada, friends who are married with kids, stable jobs and mortgages. Moxley feels the pull of both worlds and it makes his story even more compelling.
This is a great book for anyone who has ever dreamed of packing up and moving to another country.