From Angela Merkel to Heidi Klum, the World Cup to Oktoberfest, Germany has a commanding presence on the world stage, and in SCHADENFREUDE, A Love Story, Rebecca Schuman relates her personal encounters with the country and people behind it all. After getting dumped by a boyfriend, Schuman packed up a copy of German writer Kafka’s “The Next Village,” headed off to college and learned just enough German to let her American arrogance shine through on an exchange trip. As an eighteen-year-old vegetarian punk kid with a comically limited command of the language, she was hysterically out of her element. Her series of stumbles and repeat trips eventually gave way to a journey of self-discovery, thanks to her indomitable appetite for self-destruction and remarkably candid sense of humor. Along the way to adulthood, she squatted in abandoned German lofts with environmental activists, received prophetic advice from teenage movie stars, and got a Ph.D. (in German, natürlich) that almost ruined her life. With wit, panache, a few beers and a heaping dose of comedy, Schuman documents her mishap-filled travels and hilarious German adventures.
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