22 Memoirs to Read with Asian Men & Western Women in Love

It’s been almost seven years since I posted about books featuring Chinese men and Western women in love, and over five years since I posted about memoirs featuring Asian men and Western women in love. Plus, a lot of wonderful memoirs have come out in the past few years. Time to update you with a full list of AMWF memoirs you should read!

I’ve listed the titles in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name and linked them to Amazon, where your purchases help support this site.

“Good Chinese Wife” by Susan Blumberg-Kason

When it comes to the success of a cross-cultural relationship, does culture or personality matter more? Susan Blumberg-Kason’s gripping memoir “Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair With China Gone Wrong” offers a very personal answer to that question. Learn more through my interview with Susan.

“Tone Deaf in Bangkok” by Janet Brown

It’s never too late to follow your heart to Asia. Just ask writer Janet Brown, who went to Thailand at age 45 and fell in love with the people and places. Learn more through my interview with Janet.

“Burmese Lessons: A true love story” by Karen Connelly

When Karen went to Burma in 1996 for research on the conditions of Burmese political prisoners, love wasn’t on her mind — until she met Maung, a sexy young Burmese revolutionary leader. But this isn’t just a love story, as she beautifully captures her entire experience in this country — including her interview with Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China” by Rachel DeWoskin

A woman who dared to love Chinese men on screen (and off), as well as Chinese culture. DeWoskin writes about it all with passion and humor.

“Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After” by Diane Farr

Think gorgeous girls don’t go for Asian men? Then you haven’t met actress and celebrity Diane Farr, who married a Korean-American man and shared her story — and those of many others who crossed racial/cultural/ethnic lines in the name of love — in this humorous read.

“Mae Franking’s My Chinese Marriage: An Annotated Edition” by Mae Franking

A rare window into the world of a Western woman who married a Chinese man in the early 20th century, despite the estrangement of both families. Half a love story, half a collection of letters that capture the times in which they lived.

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

In her mid-forties and divorced, the last thing Ellen ever expected was to travel to China and marry a Chinese man she knew for less than a week. But the unspoken connection between then brings this unlikely pair together, and sustains them through the trials and tribulations of their new cross-cultural relationship.

“Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India” by Miranda Kennedy

Miranda’s book is an exploration of the many cultural rules and norms that govern women’s lives there, especially love, marriage and family. She dates some Indian men along the way, but reveals so much more through the Indian women she comes to know throughout the story.

“A Field Guide to Happiness” by Linda Leaming

Linda Leaming’s new book “A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up” reads like a love letter to Bhutan. Learn more through my interview with Linda.

“Married to Bhutan: How One Woman Got Lost, Said “I Do,” and Found Bliss” by Linda Leaming

Linda discovered her bliss — and later, her Bhutanese husband — in this oft-overlooked Himalayan country. This magical tale of her relationship with her future husband and his country is filled with moments that will have you laughing out loud.

“Mao’s Last Dancer” by Li Cunxin

Li Cunxin is a poor rural Chinese who skyrockets to fame as a ballet dancer. But when China sends him to Texas as part of an exchange, he falls in love with an American woman and America, and wants to defect. (Also a movie.)

“Son of the Revolution” by Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro

Most of the story revolves around Liang Heng’s personal suffering during the Cultural Revolution. However, the last few chapters of this book document how Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro incredibly fall in love, and marry, in a China just barely open to the world.

Here Comes the Sun by Leza Lowitz“Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras” by Leza Lowitz

Leza Lowitz shares her emotional journey towards marriage and motherhood in Japan (as well as opening a yoga studio in Tokyo) in “Here Comes the Sun”. Learn more through my interview with Leza.

“My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy” & “My Japanese Husband (Still) Thinks I’m Crazy” by Grace Mineta

If you’re a fan of graphic novels and you’re curious about Japan, you don’t want to miss these charming comics by Grace Mineta. Learn more through my interviews (here and here) with Grace.

“At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman’s Journey of Discovery” by Rebecca Otowa

Rebecca’s book explores her 30 years as the foreign housewife of a Japanese man in their 350-year-old farmhouse in Japan’s countryside, a home that you might argue is one of the most important characters in the story.

“Love, Again: The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance” by Eve Pell

At 68, Eve fell for Sam Hirabayashi, a man 10 years her senior. She wrote about it for The New York Times, and the overwhelming response from readers helped spark this memoir exploring late-in-life love through her own relationship and others.

“The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam” by Dana Sachs

Dana truly followed her heart in moving to Vietnam when, in the course of learning the language and later teaching, she landed into an unlikely relationship with a local Vietnamese man. She writes about it with honesty and vulnerability, which made her a delightful narrator.

The Good Shufu“The Good Shufu” by Tracy Slater

“The Good Shufu” by Tracy Slater is a heartfelt story about love & life abroad that proves sometimes those unexpected detours lead us to incredible joy. Learn more through my interview with Tracy.

Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self“Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self” by Alex Tizon

Alex Tizon’s memoir “Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self” offers a personal view on Asian masculinity in the West — and is a book you must read. Learn more through my interview with Alex.

“Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband” by Wendy Tokunaga

I connected so much with the experiences of the women interviewed by Wendy that I almost thought it could have been “Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Chinese Husband.” (Sorry, John.) It’s not one memoir, but more like a collection brought together.

Year of Fire Dragons“Year of Fire Dragons” by Shannon Young

“Year of Fire Dragons” details the life-changing year Shannon Young spent in Hong Kong while in a long-distance relationship with her Eurasian boyfriend. Learn more through my interview with Shannon.

What memoirs did I miss? What would you recommend?

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7 thoughts on “22 Memoirs to Read with Asian Men & Western Women in Love

  • September 9, 2017 at 1:07 am
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    Such an amazing list Jocelyn! I’ve added a lot of these books to my already huge to-read list! Can’t wait to add your book to this list too! 🙂

    Reply
  • September 10, 2017 at 12:32 am
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    I loved that fact that you placed Susan Blumberg’s book first above all suggesting subliminally that it ranked among the best. I read it and I think it was the best book of the year. I also read “Year of Fire Dragons” and it was good too. Keep up the greatness ladies.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm
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    Diane Farr is not a role model for AMWF. She waits until her mid-thirties to date an Asian guy…and only after she wastes her twenties on Black and Hispanic guys. PATHETIC.

    Reply
    • October 24, 2017 at 9:35 pm
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      Thanks Karen! Oh, good catch — I did read that one and totally forgot to include it on this list!

      Reply

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