Review of 'Mambo in Chinatown'

Review of 'Mambo in Chinatown' by Jean Kwok

 “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” 

5/5 Stars

Author: Jean Kwok
Pages: 448
Price: $ 13.79
Publisher:Riverhead Books

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York’s Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (American-born Chinese), Charlie’s entire life has been limited to this small area. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her eleven-year-old sister, and works—miserably—as a dishwasher.

But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew existed, and everything she once took to be certain turns upside down. Gradually, at the dance studio, awkward Charlie’s natural talents begin to emerge. With them, her perspective, expectations, and sense of self are transformed—something she must take great pains to hide from her father and his suspicion of all things Western. As Charlie blossoms, though, her sister becomes chronically ill. As Pa insists on treating his ailing child exclusively with Eastern practices to no avail, Charlie is forced to try to reconcile her two selves and her two worlds—Eastern and Western, old world and new—to rescue her little sister without sacrificing her newfound confidence and identity.

‘Mambo in Chicago‘ convinced me a lot.  First I thought all the time that the blurb was a big spoiler
because I knew all the time that she is a bad receptionist and is going to be a dancer. But the book still
surprised me. But now to the characters: Charlie is a really lovely protagonist. I made friend with her
clumsy kind very fast. After a while she was a bit too solicitous regarding her sister, but I think that’s
often in real life the case as well. Lisa was nice but later she was a bit strange. I found it a bit
annoying how she reacts to Charlie when she wanted to help Lisa. In my opinion the dancers are
written down very good. Even if I’m not a big fan of Simone she is a great character and a part of the
story. I imagined Ryan not as hot as Charlie describes him. I really like that the story is written in the
first person singular because that makes the story more personal. The story about Lisa was a bit too
much in my opinion but it was still a great variety to the dancers. I actually thought that the cause for
her problems is a totally different one. With the resolution the author put out a last surprise because I
didn’t expect it at all. In the end I had a few unanswered questions but this isn’t very bad.
All in one the book us a great life and love story,  and I can recommend the book to everyone who
likes to read novels.

Get the book here: Amazon.com 

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