Living here in China, many people see the United States of America as a land of opportunity. Given the lives that many have to live here, as well as the methodology of the educational system, one could argue that they are correct.
On the other hand, over a hundred thousand Americans reside in the Middle Kingdom seeking opportunities of various types that they did not have in their home countries. One particular story is that of Randall Fields, better known to the online world as “Randy Flagg”, the Loser Laowai. Randy has spent over twelve years in China, is the father of a lovely daughter, and will soon be having a second child. Despite Loser Laowai’s success, however, his life was not always glitz and glamour.
American Nightmare, the first book in the Chinese Dream series, chronicles Randy Field’s formative years living in New York City. The tale can be frightening at times, and other times, unbelievable. Although many of us have had glimpses of “the Hood” from movies and gangsta rap, Mr. Fields’s accounts of his rough life coming up are shocking and eye-opening. Life in the slums of America is anything but “cool”, as 1990’s rap music videos may have depicted it.
Indeed, the so-called “American Dream” was to remain just that: an intangible unreality for Randy, and many others that came up in similar environments. To a degree, it is a shame that one cannot find the success that they desire in their native country, but like all animals, humans can and should migrate when the pastures truly are greener. Mr. Fields has certainly done well for himself here in China, building a successful media empire, a feat that likely would have proven difficult in the United States.
Still, the specters of desperation and generational failure loom over the ghettos, projects, and hoods of the United States, their denizens mucking about through life, waiting for either their big break, or their funeral. Randy emphasizes this harsh reality in vivid detail, without being preachy, whiny, or delusional as a social justice warrior (SJW) would. Indeed, the world is cruel, status-driven, cutthroat, racialist, and judgmental, and people don’t really root for the underdogs until they defy the odds and come out on top.
American Nightmare is a heartbreaking tale, but seeing the man that Randall Fields has become, it turns into a story of triumph against all odds. This first book in the Chinese Dream series is a must-read for those interested in the darker side of American life, who are not afraid to dive into an uncensored view of the world from one of its downtrodden citizens.
There are several lessons to be learned within the pages of American Nightmare, but I will let you discover those for yourself. One thing that I certainly took away from the book is the value of determination in order to win when winning seems nigh impossible. It is this grit, this determination, and this unwillingness to surrender or to fail that has made Randall Fields, Randy Flagg, the “Loser Laowai” into the lovable winner that he is today.
Pick up your copy of American Nightmare on Amazon Kindle!