The parts I enjoyed the most were the ones in which I learned about Chinese traditions and culture.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was a quick light book.
The tug-of-war between traditional immigrant parents and their North American born children is very real, but unless the book is set in the 20th century, I felt that this hand was overplayed, particularly for a 22-year-old. Additionally, the characters' lack of computer availability to research information made the book feel dated. Having said that, the segments that dealt with dance seemed quite smoothly written - although the likelihood that an inadequate receptionist could become a professional dance instructor was a bit exaggerated. It is , however a Cinderella story for Charlie. As for Lisa, not so lucky. I enjoyed the story. The romance plot was well choreographed, the sub-score with Ryan and his boxing mates was offbeat, and a (mostly) happy ending is fine.
I enjoy books that show other cultures,and Mambo In Chinatown showed two American-Chinese sisters and their struggle of trying to acclimate fully into American culture when they have a father and an uncle who are steadfastly anchored to old-school China.
The author skillfully develops the characters,and the story.
I immediately loved Charlie and her little sister Lisa,and I was totally captivated by their story.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the insights to Chinese culture,even though I was totally grossed out by the uncle's disgusting-gag-a-maggot health remedies,that would have made me run away from home!
The story is told with much humor and charm.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy a feel-good story
***** Charlie, the older daughter of an old-school overworked and underpaid widowed Chinese man, comes of age at great risk to the thin fabric that holds her struggling family together -- only to resew it with tensile-strength thread. By itself, the description of her interview at the dance studio is worth the time to read the whole book -- but that's only one one gem in a sparkling charm bracelet of a novel. Also, check out Kwok's emotion-tugging debut novel, Girl in Translation, about impoverished Chinese immigrants who become indentured servants to family members as the price of their tickets.
Fascinating look behind the scenes of professional ballroom dancing -- an "ugly duckling" becomes a swan in spite of herself.
This is a great book. Can't help but pull for "Charlie" as she grows into her own. Recommended!
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