The Booklist review is in, and it’s better than a basketful of puppies. Read on:
“The title refers to Russians saying ruefully that Americans think they are so backward that bears roam their streets. Dickey proves this isn’t so by portraying people from a variety of locations across Russia, from Vladivostok to Novosibirsk to Moscow, in 1995, 2005, and 2015.
More than a neat conceit, this is a delightful depiction of passing time in a place many Americans and others fear, admire, or despise. Quite the storyteller and traveling companion, Dickey shares colorful anecdotes of teaching new Russian friends poker, slaughtering a sheep for dinner, and admiring how the setting sun plays off a Lenin statue. She also muses on how social media have made her travels and interactions so much easier.
Filled with then-and- now photographs, Dickey’s travelogue is truly heartwarming, drawing strength from the honesty and openness of the people she visits and revisits and opening windows on the opinions of the Russian people on nearly everything, from homosexuality to Putin. Fascinating and a balm to readers enduring the current xenophobic plague.”
— Eloise Kinney