The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

BOOK REVIEW: “The Globalisation of Love,” by Wendy Williams

Writer Wendy Williams has described her new book, The Globalisation of Love, as being about “global love stories, inter-cultural romance and marriage.” A Canadian expat living with her Austrian husband in Vienna, it is of little surprise that Williams is interested in intercultural romances and her book could be best described as an expat take on the self-help, relationship genre — a Men Are from Mödling, Women Are from Vancouver, if you will.

As Williams writes,

…one of the most profound effects on globalisation is that people from everywhere are falling in love with people from everywhere else. There is a world of romance happening out there and it is called the globalisation of love.

That is certainly reflected in the readership of The Displaced Nation, where a large number of you, myself included, are involved in inter-cultural relationships or marriages so I imagine there are those among you or friends you know who may need this book with its advice and anecdotes on how to circumnavigate the occasionally choppy waters and discombobulating experiences of being, in Williams’s neologism, a GloLo couple. Williams explains the problems a GloLo couple may experience in dealing with parents-in-law, marriage ceremonies, immigration officials — all that “fun” stuff many of us have experienced.

Williams has a very conversational turn-of-phrase and peppers her book with references to romantic comedies, and I suspect her style will delight and grate in equal measure. Whether you find yourself charmed by the idea of a GloTini cocktail (recipe included in the book) is probably a fair indicator of whether you are going to curl up with The Globalisation of Love or hurl it across your living room.

With each topic tackled, Williams brings up case studies from a whole ranges of GloLo couples that she has interviewed. For me, this is undoubtably where the book is strongest as you find yourself either charmed or cringing at the experiences of each couple. Williams, also brings in the story of her own marriage, always in a disarmingly self-deprecating way, so at times The Globalisation of Love reads almost like a quasi-memoir.

I do think there are drawbacks. The over-classification of GloLo couples can quickly become confusing. At times I felt that I required some kind of chart to work out what sort of GloLo I’m defined under, though I suspect I probably snugly fit into what Williams classifies as “the scoffer.” The quick, breezy glossing over of the issue of mail-order brides did not sit comfortably with me, and I also thought the look at those who meet on the Internet was a missed opportunity. I’ve heard of a number of people who have found their partner via the Web — not through a dating site, but from regularly participating on a discussion forum centered around an area both partners have a common interest. This often involves those who previously wouldn’t have entered into a GloLo relationship, and perhaps have never once traveled out of their home country despite starting a relationship with someone on the other side of the globe.

While by no means a book that is going to radically change your opinion on self-help, relationship books, it is a worthwhile addition to the genre.

You can buy The Globalisation of Love here.

STAY TUNED for Monday’s post, a displaced Q about the Ideal Christmas Holiday.

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9 responses to “BOOK REVIEW: “The Globalisation of Love,” by Wendy Williams

  1. ML Awanohara December 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    As you may recall, TDN’s treatment of cross-cultural relationships comes down to a post I did on cautioning against (that was during our Pocahontas month, remember?) and an interview with two cross-cultural couples who didn’t think it was any big deal. Against that background, Williams’s more comprehensive study sounds like a useful addition to the genre!

    (I’ll have that glo-tini straight up, two olives…)

    Point of clarification: are you saying the book belongs in chick lit because it’s about relationships and written by a woman? Or to put it another way, since Christmas is coming: Should women consider buying this book for the men in their lives, or would it be better if they simply read it themselves? (Could you pls be a little more specific about the book’s best audience?)

    And one more thing: Just why are you in the category of “scoffer”? Pls elucidate.

    • awindram December 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm

      I wouldn’t go with chick-lit as a classification as I always think of that as referring exclusively to fiction. It is definitely self-help and in the vein of He’s Just Not Into You or What Color is your Parachute? I think both those examples give a good flavor of what to expect. It definitely and intentionally pitches itself more at a female readership with references to Oprah, Bridget Jones, When Harry Met Sally, or the aforementioned GloTini cocktail. I do think women in a multicultral relationship, particularly those at the beginning of one will probably derive more enjoyment from Wendy’s book than their male partners.

      On the “scoffer” note, I should have been much clearer in the review. At one point, Wendy writes about talking about her book among her social network and divides people into “flashers” (because on hearing about it they have a flasher-like zeal to put themself forward for inclusion) and the “scoffers” (those who are perhaps more cynical “snooty intellectuals” to quote from Wendy). As anyone who has read my pieces on here as probably aware I fall into the “scoffers” category: i.e. not someone who normally reads self-help literature but was intriqued by the subject matter of the Globalisation of Love. Though I’m still probably more of a “scoffer” than a “flasher” (well nobody wants to see that…) that says more about me than it does Wendy’s book.

  2. Kate Allison December 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I don’t know what a GloTini is, but I will happily try it!

    Ditto the book. I don’t think many self-help books are going to radically change your opinions on anything – the point is that each one offers a slightly different point of view, which you can take or leave as you please. Based on Anthony’s review, I would read this book because I like to know how other people view the world and human relationships. (And also for the GloTini recipe, obviously.)

    Is it going to be available for Kindle?

    • awindram December 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Well if you purchase a copy of the book you’ll see the recipe for a GloTini. 😉

      The interviews Wendy does with GloLo couples are certainly the highlight of the book in my opinion, so I’d think you’d really enjoy it.

      Wendy very kindly supplied me with a review copy for Kindle. Whether that means the book will be made available on kindle I don’t know. Perhaps someone from the publisher would be able to say. Considering the international readership the book will be aiming for by the very nature of its subject matter, a commercially available ebook edition seems extremely sensible.

  3. Tony James Slater January 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Well, I can see it as a book with a motivation – which is to support the creating of a new word or meme, the ‘GloLo’ phenomenon. Which doesn’t really exist, it’s just that multi-cultural relationships are on the rise as the world shrinks. Nothing new but the idea of classifying it with a phrase. Admittedly there will be the odd Evangelical Christian marrying a Muslim somewhere in the world, but I would think that most people in a relationship know a fair amount about each other’s faiths and any potential hurdles this may cause. It’s always nice to read stories of love, so maybe this is the strength of the book? I can’t imagine many folk would need it for advice. Now, an in-depth guide to marriage visa legislation in Australia would have come in awfully handy! And there’s the scope for a series there…

  4. awindram January 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    @ Tony. Yes, I’m one of three siblings, two of us are “GloLo” marriages though in a lot of respects I don’t think either my brother or myself deal with many cultural differences that my sister who isn’t in a “GloLo” marriage is avoiding. Globalization makes these marriages more probable, but it in a lot of respects I can think of plenty of girls from my home town who I would have greater cultural differences being with (shared values, interests, etc) than my foreign wife.

  5. Pingback: The Karagoz puppets tell me we have a name – we are a “glo-lo” couple | Slowly-by-Slowly

  6. Pingback: The Karagoz puppets tell me we have a name – we are a “glo-lo” couple | Slowly-by-Slowly

  7. Pingback: The Karagöz puppets (and I) review The Globalization of Love | Slowly-by-Slowly

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