AMWW Magazine just recently posted my book review of Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After by Diane Farr.
I mentioned this book last month in a list of memoirs by Western women who love other Asian men. But I really felt the book deserved a review of its own. Kissing Outside the Lines could become the go-to guide for any women who happen to date Asian men and live in a Western country like the US; her experiences with Korean-American Seung Yong Chung cover everything a couple might face:
- Confronting prejudice and racism
- Dealing with family and parents (on both sides)
- Learning more about his Asian culture
- Planning a cross-cultural/international wedding (they end up having two weddings — one in South Korea, one in the US)
I also think this book can inspire Asian men out there still looking for love — as I said in my review, “who says that Asian men can’t land babelicious former MTV hosts?” In fact, cvaguy, one of my longtime commenters, also gave this book a thumbs up in a comment. I agree with him — this is a smart book written by a very smart woman.
Here’s a snippet from my review:
When Diane Farr first spotted her future Korean American husband from the dance floor, she actually “took both index fingers and pulled on my eyelids, making the international sign for ‘Yes, Charlie Chan…I mean you,’” to signal him over.
This is the first of many cringe-worthy moments in my book review of “Kissing Outside the Lines” between her and a guy she first dubs “the Giant Korean.” (I’m not kidding.)
Who would expect that this same white woman would end up writing about her relationship with a Korean man in her memoir entitled “Kissing Outside the Lines” — one that explores the idea of interracial/interethnic/interfaith relationships as a whole?
Or, for that matter, that she would do it with an intelligence and sensitivity you wouldn’t imagine from a woman who once used a “slant-eye” reference in a pickup scenario.
Read the full review here. And check out Kissing Outside the Lines here.
14 Replies to “Review of “Kissing Outside the Lines” by Diane Farr in AMWW Mag”
“Slant eyes” is “sepet” here for you and considered a pejorative. The term sepet is often used to refer to the Chinese people here in Malaysia. But nowadays the Chinese are not bothered and we just laugh at the whole thing because each race here has it own unkind term for the others and it is really not nice. But since the Yasmin Ahmad film of the same name, the term sepet is considered cool. @Jocelyn, it was difficult for me to access your review in AMWW website. This irritating pop-up offering the free book on AMWW relationship kept getting in the way and there was no way (funny) for me to close it. Anyway, we are waiting for your own book to hit the market.
Beautiful review of the book. Funny thing is that I’m being close to finishing A House Divided by Pearl Buck which almost has an AM/WF but then the stubborn Yuan chooses to reject Mary and goes back to his own country, which seems a reverse AM/WF. (Very reminiscent of my ex and I, I should add, except he was a coward to really say what our relationship was.) Two years later it still hurts. When I dated him, I do recall that it took me time to get used to trying eating Korean food (way too spicy…) and yes my dad used to make dog jokes whenever he wasn’t around. We were often in public, but never held hands or kissed or anything of that kind. I don’t recall getting any weird looks; probably when we went to Korean restaurants there might have been odd looks but I’m not sure.
@ordinary malaysian, sorry you could not access. I will mention the problem you had w/ the popup to J.T. Tran. But if you want to access the article now, one easy way is to use an RSS reader and subscribe to the website’s feed (http://www.asianmanwhitewoman.com/feed/). For example, I used Google Reader — if you have a Google account, you can then just add the feed as I did. You will then be able to read the entire article in full without the popup. Interesting also what you mentioned about “sepet” in Malaysia, I did not know that.
@Sveta, thanks for the comment — yes, your ex was Korean, I remember you mentioning that before in comments. You might find Diane’s book interesting then (unless it is painful for you to read about b/c of your past relationship). Ah, A House Divided, I read that many years ago and still felt the sting when Yuan rejected Mary. But it was also reminiscent of one of my exes.
Sorry I mention him so often. While I did have a few relationships prior to meeting him, but he’s the first long-term relationship I had, thus more stories come from our relationship. Unfortunately since then, I hadn’t had a fortune of meeting someone in person who might have potential of being a boyfriend.
I also forgot to ask, but Yuan’s experiences in America, could someone from China still experience them?
Sounds like a great read!
Bought it, read it and loved it. In fact, I learned a lot from it. The way shePo o handled things shows how smart she is. She almost got arrested twice but each time she got away, with different ways of handling. She has good intuition.
@Sveta – I will read the book and see what experience he had. I may have answers for that.
Not sure why there are random letters in my posting, sorry about that.
@andi – for a second I thought someone is posting under the name of audi 🙂
Well, close enough…
@sveta – I read the article about a house divided on wiki. His time is bit in the paste. Don’t believe the environment would be the same.
I came to US as student. The people around me (students, faculties, and church friends) were friendly, I did not experience an instance of discrimination. The college girls were not very difficult to be connected with. All it takes is a smile, a conversation, and the willingness.
Today, students from China have a higher proportion of rich second generation. A person I know is a single child. Parents bought a three bed room apartment with cash for their precious to study, and found a job in US through their connections during recession time when the company was firing people. Too bad their precious is not what they expected, given all the spoils…
Interesting “Green Card” was not an issue to the white side, because back in the 1980s that was always an issue and with good and bad reasons. Every Asian was considered a foreinger unless proved otherwise. “Where are you really from?” was a question asked particularly of Asians and Asian Americans partly because anything Asian was considered a foreigner, but also due to the fact that in order to stay in this country before 1965, you had to get married to an American, and skills did not matter. 100% of Indians living in the US who got their residency before 1965 is (was) married to a white person (that figure fell to 10% by 1970 and a miniscule 2% by 2000 after the creation of skilled migrant category). Since it was mostly Indian men, the majority of the spouses were white women. Hence a stereotype developed that every Indian man trying to talk to a white woman was looking for a green card. A friend of mine had an interesting experience at Purdue University back in 1983 when he first landed there. He was already a resident of the US. When he tried to ask white women for direction to the admissions office, they just kept walking and did not acknowledge him. Back in the 1980s Purdue was also extremely racist. However, he was at a loss, because every American he had met in the east coast was at least polite. Later on he found out that the parents have taught their daughters to be wary of Indians because they are looking for green cards to stay in this country. Well, at least that is what their generation experienced. So part of it is bigotry and part of it is the “green card” syndrome.
This is how I feel about racism. It’s how you manage the stress of being discriminated. If someone discriminate me for example, I would give him 10 minutes to say whatever he wants to say on his mind. After 10 minutes, now it’s my turn to tell my side of the story… Guess who will come out on top?
@Jocelyn, no problem now with accessing your review in AMWW website. Interesting review I had say. Now we are hoping your book won’t take too long to hit the market.
I will make sure to check out this book. I honestly need to read more. 😀