||Sep 4 2001
Can a "serious" author venture into humor without destroying his good name? I suppose we'll find out. True dog stories, cat stories, horse stories, hog stories, redneck stories, and Hong Kong stories.
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Humorous nonfiction. A one-month holiday turned into a three-year adventure that ends with me teaching English in Hangzhou, China.
"Outrageous! Hilarious, great voice, fine structure. Well-written, well-done and I hooeyed out loud a couple of times. Thanks for the read!" --Jeff Rose, author
"Unusual and attention-grabbing. The pacing is just right, the characters are well-developed, the plot is interesting. I applaud your writing skills, and I'll definitely be looking for anything else you've got." --Bethany Harvey, author
In December 1999, I sold my house in North Carolina, divorced my wife of ten years, entrusted my lovely dogs to Daddy, and visited Hong Kong to meet my “Internet friend.” Not long after, I quit my job of eight years via e-mail. Some time later, I married my “friend.”
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You've never met a redneck like Michael LaRocca. And, unless your concept of a redneck is someone who loves animals, delights in encountering people from different cultures, and moves easily between environments as diverse as an electronics firm, a pig farm, and mainland China, expect Michael LaRocca to redefine that term for you.
The author is one of those natural raconteurs who stretches your notions of what you'll find interesting. Still, if you knew in advance that a good portion of the book would be devoted to biographies of every pet he has owned and an extensive rendering of his duties in a pig-breeding operation, you might be inclined to skepticism. Doubt not, in Michael LaRocca's accomplished hands animals become fascinating personalities, and the details of pig-breeding offer an insight into the dedicated human effort that lies behind those slices of bacon on your breakfast plate.
While written in a light and engaging manner, this is not a book without tragedy. Its first chapter opens with the suicide of a younger brother and ends with the death of LaRocca's mother, a hard-working woman who surely deserved a better and a longer life. A good chunk of the remaining book takes place against the offstage events of a deteriorating marriage and a few hurricanes. In short, Michael LaRocca has not had an easy life, but rather than leaving him miserable and subdued, it has gifted him with a highly developed sense of irony and an appreciation of the absurd. When bad things happen, LaRocca makes insightful notes and moves on, a man who meets life facing forward, and who never fails to communicate the plain random joy of living.
The author's energetic and staccato prose straddles the distance between North Carolina and Hong Kong as easily as it bestrides the disparate co-realties of hog farm and electronics firm. And we always have Michael for company, a dog-lover, a cat-sap, an appreciator of peculiar characters and someone who's always ready for something new. He's the sort of person who takes in strays and strives to get to know their individual natures. He's the sort of person who can give up everything he's ever known and fly to Hong Kong to follow up an internet romance, vaulting the corporate cubical in a single bound and resigning by e-mail from half-a-world away.
A funny and surprising man with the skill to put himself on the book page in living color, he possesses of the kind of unreserved honesty that most of us achieve only after a few drinks.
His works include an earlier autobiographical book "Rising From The Ashes," a novel "Vigilante Justice" and "The Chronicles of a Madman", a short story collection.
Get to know Michael LaRocca. Spend some time with him. You won't regret it.
GWN Book Reviewer
Four tail wags out of five
July 17, 2002
A Storyweaver's Book Reviews
Reviewed by Jennifer LB Leese @ ASTORYWEAVERs Book Reviews
Stars out of 5: 5
Michael LaRocca is an unusual but talented author. The title AN AMERICAN REDNECK IN HONG KONG tells you just how so.
He speaks of true-life and turns his experiences into a book filled with enthralling short stories. His hilarious stories are of people he knows, of family, of himself, and of his animals.
LaRocca has a wonderful way of putting words together to grab the attention of his readers, while making them laugh.
In AN AMERICAN REDNECK IN HONG KONG, you'll learn of past relationships, Daisy, Bebe, Dixie, and many of his other animals, Internet and fun. He also tells you of how he came to meet his wife and how he ended up in Hong Kong.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend AN AMERICAN REDNECK IN HONG KONG and Michael LaRocca as an author.
Born in North Carolina, Michael LaRocca grew up in North Carolina and Florida, moved to Hong Kong and now resides in Hangzhou. He is an author of numerous books, and he is a strong supporter of electronic books.
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An American Redneck in Hong Kong
By: Michael LaRocca
Reviewed by: Dallas Franklin
‘An American Redneck in Hong Kong’ by Michael LaRocca is not only steeped in personal experiences and cultural differences but Michael’s ‘redneck humor’ shines forth very well indeed! Many times throughout the book I found myself laughing hysterically over his perspective on life, whether or not it was in America or Hong Kong. It’s a personable book and I enjoyed it immensely.
Michael introduces us to his life with some personal background on growing up in Florida and North Carolina. The book doesn’t start with laughs as Michael shares the suicide of his brother on his mother’s birthday, and then a year later his mother dies instantly from an aneurysm on the same date. Reading about these personal tragedies was heartbreaking and quickly you can’t help but like this man and book.
You’re taken on a journey of various jobs he held and some of the funny situations he found himself in, or instigated in making life a joy to live. All things in life seem easier when dealt with in humor, and Michael holds nothing back in his witty recounts and subtleness.
He leaves Florida after many stints as a security guard and computer programmer to embark upon a life as a farmer in North Carolina. There are countless animal stories and one whole chapter devoted to the sex life of a boar and sow. Filled with humor that only Michael can relate it also contains much information about animals that you probably didn’t know unless you’re in this kind of life. It’s not learning in a factual way, but learning in a fun and honest canter.
The learning and laughter doesn’t stop in America. Michael meets the love of his life on the Internet and soon embarks upon a journey to Hong Kong to meet her. His wife, a native of Australia has been living in Hong Kong for a number of years teaching English and he quickly learns the cultural differences between China and America. Although not fluent in Cantonese or Mandarin (the languages of both places he’s lived in) he does manage to get through situations using a few words he’s learned. Interestingly, one of the first words he learns in both languages is ‘beer’ that only a ‘redneck’ would require.
‘An American Redneck in Hong Kong’ gives us a view of China that we might not find in American media. For instance, I never knew that in most restrooms there isn’t any toilet paper. People carry tissues with them wherever they go in case they need to use it. When we think of rush hour traffic here in the Western world we know only too well about road rage and our impatience with others. But in China, it’s completely different. They don’t get angry with other drivers and greet oncoming traffic with a toot of the horn or when overtaking a vehicle. We could learn a lot from each other and our contrasts.
If you’re looking for a book that touches your heart and keeps it light as well, this is the one for you. I really loved this book and give it a top rating of 10.
Rating Scale: 1-10 (10 being the best)
‘An American Redneck in Hong Kong’ – Rating 10
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Reader Reviews for "An American Redneck in Hong Kong"
|Reviewed by Michael LaRocca
An American Redneck in Hong Kong
By Michael LaRocca
Reviewed by Jen Oliver, MyShelf.Com
This book will have the reader laughing out loud as they read the hilarious tales of Mr. LaRocca's life. He shares stories about his dogs, his cats, his horses, and some of his more adventurous jobs. There is not a dull moment when reading this book. This book is very fast-paced, but does not leave the reader hanging about where the story is going.
Mr. LaRocca does a great job in sharing his stories and does it in a way that keeps the reader entertained. He does give readers proper warning that there might be material that some readers would find offensive. He describes his animals and people that he meets in great detail; almost so much you could picture yourself there. He describes the antics of his pets in a way that if you have ever had pets or ran into any dogs or cats; you would know exactly what he is talking about.
This book is a delightful look at a life where one could say, "what was the big deal about this one man's life?" Mr. LaRocca takes his life and writes about it with funny, laugh-out-loud detail.