Book Review: Why Did You Go There? By Elliot Miles Emery.

16 May
Book Review: Why Did You Go There? By Elliot Miles Emery.

Thank you to Author Elliot Miles Emery for my copy of his recently published book – ” Why Did You Go There? Stories of an English Teacher in Russia”.
When I read the title of this book, my first thoughts were also, why would he choose to go there! This inspired me to read the book, so great title! I have also taught English abroad but never thought of going to Russia. I wondered if this book would make me consider Russia as a country to visit.

In the winter of 2018, lawyer, Elliot Emery, is sat at his desk at the law firm in the UK where he has been working for the past few years. He has just handed in his letter of resignation, deciding to embark on a new career as an English teacher in Moscow, Russia. Shortly afterwards, his manager comes rushing over and asks him one question: “Why are you going there?”. Several months later, having just slipped on the snowy steps leading out of his Moscow apartment building and landing on his stomach in a crumpled heap, Elliot asks himself the same question. However, in the remarkable year which follows, Elliot parties with a Russian model, battles with cockroaches in a university dormitory and tries to stop a Russian and Georgian child from strangling each other during another unsuccessful ‘Maths’ class. A year older, and perhaps wiser, he reflects on what has been a bizarre yet remarkable twelve months in one of the world’s most enigmatic and fascinating countries. “Why are you going there?” is a humorous, tongue-in-cheek account of the everyday life of a British expat in Russia. However, more than this, it is a story of culture, language, friendships and life in an often misunderstood country.

My Thoughts:
A tale of an British man in Russia. I hoped this book would give me tales about Russian culture, food, people and stories of teaching English in Russia. I was given, and enjoyed all of the above in this book.
Why Are You Going There? gave me everything I could want from reading a book about another country that I don’t know much about. Written in an entertaining and sometimes amusing way, Elliot tells of many different experiences throughout his time in this far away country.
The book had a few entertaining historical facts about Russia along the way. I don’t particularly like books full of historical facts when I’m reading for fun, so this was just the right amount for me.
The book has plenty of amusing tales of the cheeky children, which I was surprised at when I read them. My expectations of the schooling and conduct was not the same as I the experiences I was reading about.
Throughout the book the author adds photos of beautiful scenery and architecture.
There was one particular tale I was intrigued about. Elliot was recorded on Instagram doing a little dance which his students thought was most amusing and it sounded quite funny to me too. I might have to have a little search for this clip.
The writing was easy to read and flowed well. It felt like Elliot was telling me all about his experience in Russia which is just what I expected and what I wanted.
To sum up, while I still wouldn’t put Russia at the top of my ‘travel bucket list’, if the opportunity arose for me to work or travel there, then I would give it far more consideration after reading this book.
An enjoyable read , with culture, humour and adventure. A great book for anyone who likes to read about foreign adventures and learn about different cultures.



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Posted by on May 16, 2021 in Books


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