Susie LuoKirja-arvosteluja

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1 Work 141 jäsentä 1 Review


audio fiction (~8 hrs) multiple narrators relate a story that follows Tammy (growing up in aI Flushing basement apartment with Chinese immigrant parents "Tony"/Tongheng and "Kim" whose visas may not always be in order) and Oliver (a trust-fund law student in the building where Tony worked as a doorman, who becomes friends with 9 y.o. Tammy while giving her piano lessons, and who will eventually fall in love with her after she's grown up). Takes place between 1987 Dalian, China (when Tongheng meets the woman he'll marry and decides to go to the US to get ahead) and 2016 NYC.

The "violent act" mentioned in the blurb doesn't actually happen until the last 1/3 or so (there is an event at the start of the book which I guess could qualify, but it's nothing like what you'd expect), so the pace picks up at the very end, and I've got some mixed feelings about the abrupt ending, but overall this was pretty readable -- partly a love story between mentor and mentee (which I gather not everyone is a big fan of -- either because of the 17-year age difference, or because Oliver abandons the dog he just adopted in a fit of commitment-phobia, or because of the whole white Savior thing -- which, ok, that's a fair point that would definitely distract/detract), but also a story about a girl who grew up resenting her Chinese roots for the "otherness" that she perceived it represented. It's a story about presenting yourself as someone else in pursuit of being more socially acceptable--Tammy, who dislikes identifying as Chinese, and who agrees to marry Vincent, a man who looks good on paper but maybe isn't a great match given that he won't even eat anything as "adventurous" as Chipotle; and Oliver, whose parents have changed their surnames to avoid association with his infamous grandfather--in prison for fraud on a massive scale.

I did like how Tammy's perspective on her Chinese-Americanness and her relationship with her father evolved over the course of the story, and didn't mind the changing narrators/nonchronological flashbacks too much (it just meant I had to go back and check the chapter headings once in a while). The audio narration was fine (appreciate the Asian-American rep! Please continue to give these actors meaningful work), though Tammy's and Kip's voices were a bit of a stretch. Would read more from this author but not sure if I'd recommend this one.½
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reader1009 | Oct 18, 2023 |