Review: ‘Double Happiness’ by Tony Brasunas

Double Happiness Book Cover

At 22 Tony Brasunas had never left the US, but fascinated by China he embarked on a post-University year teaching English in a Chinese high school. The school year over he the travelled to Beijing to see the hand over of Hong Kong before venturing west to through China to Tibet and then south east back go Hong Kong and finally home to America.

He was not the same man when he returned. The year had seen him struggle to teach rowdy Chinese teenagers with an obsession for Hollywood films, fall in love three times, make new friends, and discuss politics in parks.

Part travelogue, part coming of age memoir, part poetry and politics, ‘Double Happiness’ is a fascinating insight not only in to one man’s personal growth in an alien environment but also the people, culture and traditions of China. It’s a land that’s much more diverse than propaganda, both Western and Chinese, would have the world believe.

We’ll believe the myths about the unknown cultures of the world until we’re presented with our common humanity. In writing ‘Double Happiness’ Tony Brasunas shows clearly that commonality.

A great read for travel lovers and those who would love to travel but can’t. Poetic, well written and interesting page-turner.


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The author is giving a copy of his book to three lucky people. Click the rafflecopter link below (I hope it works!)

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Here’s what the authors has to say:
How Travel and Writing Saved Me
What would happen if you left everything behind – your culture, your
family, your place, your people, and your history – and moved to a
faraway and foreign world?
What would happen if you did this alone, when you were young?
It would be a terrifying and exhilarating time. Your experience would
be something others would probably call “Coming of Age.” If this
departure were voluntary, others might say you were “Seeking Your
But the experience would be even more profound than these terms
suggest. You wouldn’t just find maturity or a fortune; you would
uncover who you really are and what you can really do. Without the
culture, family, and society that had raised you and known you all
your life, you would come face to face with you.
Who are you – at the core?
Setting Out
I left the United States for the first time at the age of 22 and moved
to China. I taught English in a Chinese high school and journeyed
throughout the country with just a backpack. I did come of age; I did
not find a fortune, other than perhaps the untold riches inherent in
That turned out to be quite a lot.
I discovered who I am, at a level far deeper than I had ever known. I
also learned, through repeated experiences teaching and traveling,
that this world and this life is an open garden awaiting us, awaiting
our hopes, intentions, dreams, and creativity. I learned that if you
trust yourself, your instincts, and your intuition, and if you take the
risk of letting them truly guide you, the world opens up to you in
unexpected ways and you discover the essence of your own inner
being. You get to be alive in the fullness and magic of your true self.
Putting that lesson into practice removed ten tons from my
shoulders; it was the thing that saved me. I learned not only who I
am, but that who I am (and who all of us truly are) is
good. I embraced that, I took risk after risk based on that, and I found the
ability in most every moment to do what I most deeply want. I
discovered two happinesses.
I returned home to the United States and found a culture, a family,
and a world that expected me to be the person I had been before. I
tried to meet their expectations, for some reason. I never told
anyone the details of my story, and no one asked. I became
depressed and chronically ill, and I had no idea why.
At the suggestion of an old and distant friend, I began to write about
my journey. As I began to explore where and who I had been, the me
that I had discovered – the one who trusts himself and guides
himself by his inner knowing and intuition – he was still there, just
hiding because no one knew him. As I wrote, he could come forth
and share his discoveries with me and with others.
Two Happinesses
Writing was the second thing that saved me. I wrote and wrote, and
rediscoverd myself through this second journey. Along the way, my
writing got longer and better. I learned something of this eternal and
elusive art. And I set out to write a full book.
Today, a decade later, thanks to dozens of helpful angels small and
large, my story is now published. With deep joy and a touch of
exhaustion, I can announce that it is here, my book,
Double Happiness,
the story of the two happinesses.
I offer it – and all my writing – as a gift, first to the people, land, and
spirits of China; second, to the many angels who helped me find my
path to being a happy person; and third, and most of all, as a gift for
people everywhere who might learn or benefit from my discoveries.
May it be helpful to you, and to all who seek happiness, whether you
are able to travel yourself or only to travel from an armchair.
Trust yourself, have fun, take chances.

TonyBrasunas Author


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