Wednesday, June 12, 2013
“The Occidental Husband” is a humorous memoir of longtime Post and Courier journalist Fred Smith’s marriage to a Chinese immigrant he met on the Internet and their mutual coming of age in a place called Goose Creek. Most of it actually happened.
When Fred made first contact with Mei in 1997, she had never held a puppy, never walked on the beach, never eaten a hot dog, or watched a Three Stooges pie fight. She had much to learn and experience. But Fred had no idea he would be the one to do most of the learning.
For him, the road to enlightenment was paved with strange relatives, weird food and miscommunication mishaps. He found he would have to change his attitude to win Mei, then change again on a more profound level to keep Mei, only to learn that, ultimately, nothing is “for keeps.”
As Mei embarked on her own journey of discovery in a strange environment, miles from her unique world in the Far East, she helped transform Fred from a geeky loser into something resembling a responsible family man. He will admit, though, that many times he felt like a man with one chopstick: just one shy of a full load.
Reviewers are raving:
“‘The Occidental Husband’ is equal parts confessional and cockeyed observation, with anatomies of a relationship and fatherhood stirred in. It is also funny, enlightening, brave and generous.” --Bill Thompson, former book review editor and film critic, The Post and Courier
“Fred Smith tells an intensely personal story with great humor and almost stunning honesty. He keeps you turning the pages. This guy can write!” --Skip Johnson, author of “The Gospel of Yeshua” and “A Charleston Primer for Yankees”
Though Fred Smith has been a newspaperman for decades, this is his first book. We have no doubt there will be more. He can no longer be contained.
For $9.95, The Occidental Husband is available online at www.EveningPostBooks.com, inside the Post-Courier building at 134 Columbus St. in Charleston, and in local bookstores. Bulk sales are available upon request by contacting Evening Post Books at 843-958-7367.
Fred Lee Smith was born in Charleston in 1954 and has lived in the Lowcountry his entire life. He attended Charleston Southern University (then the Baptist College) and joined the staff of “The News and Courier” newspaper in 1974. Between 1978 and 1991, Smith wrote more than 1,000 columns, reviews and articles for the paper. Shortly after “The News and Courier” and “The Charleston Evening Post” combined into “The Post and Courier” in the early ’90s, Smith dropped his writing pen and began concentrating on page design. A lifelong battle with panic attacks kept Smith on the dating sidelines until he sought help in 1987 and then began to fully enjoy and participate in life. He met Mei Li from China online in 1997, and that experience, subsequent marriage and numerous stupefying incidents comprise the subject of this book.