I just finished reading The Church of Tango: A Memoir. It was perfect.
I am familiar with the author, Cherie Magnus, from her blog Tango Cherie. I have always enjoyed reading about her experiences as an expat living, dancing, and teaching tango in Buenos Aires. I heard about her book when it came out, but I just got around to reading it this weekend.
First of all, her writing is outstanding. I was swept up in the thrill of her adventures in Paris and San Miguel de Allende and her hometown of Los Angeles, and I wanted to scream at the people who seemed to frustrate her plans at every turn. She made each place and each experience dance in front of my eyes. And oh, the dancing!
As a life-long dancer who has tried everything from ballet to belly dancing, I could completely understand her relationship with dance. Like her, I have always found solace in the different dances I tried. I rarely feel truly comfortable and confident except when I am on the dance floor. When everything else goes awry, there is dance. The whole time while reading I was holding my breath, waiting for that moment when she discovered tango.
And it is wonderfully exciting to hear her numerous attempts at living as an expat. She describes both the colorful newness of each place and the irritations that are discovered once that place becomes home. I see bits of Spain and Guatemala and Germany in her descriptions of France and Mexico and Argentina. Although we are decades and continents apart, I feel like I know her. And that, for me, is a successful memoir.