Jul 4, 2014

Book Review: Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok

Mambo in Chinatown
Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok is set in modern day America and has several ethnicities represented in its American story of immigrants old and new.

Book beginning:
My name is Charlie Wong and I'm the daughter of a dancer and a noodle-maker. My mother was once a star ballerina at the famed Beijing Dance Academy before she ran off to marry my father, the handsomest noodle-maker in Beijing - or at least that's what she always called him before she died. Hand in hand, they escaped to America to start their family. 
Page 56:
The dress was quite modest but revealed my neck and collarbones. I understood the moment Pa paused that I'd done wrong.
"Don't you like it?" I asked, already knowing the answer.
"You look like a dancing girl," he said.
"Ma was one," Lisa said.
"Your mother was a dancer," he said. 
My comments:

Charlie Wong is American-born Chinese (ABC) and her parents were born in China (FOB - fresh off the boat. Don't you just love these acronyms!).

Charlie breaks out of a Manhattan Chinatown mold and enters the world of dance, a world her mother, a former Beijing Opera dancer, had introduced her to. Charlie meets Caucasians, American Blacks, Hispanics, and international dancers and changes her limited future to one that opens for new opportunities. She also helps her troubled younger sister Lisa to find optimism and her place in American society.

Informative look at some new Americans and some of the difficulties between the modern and the traditional cultures many young American immigrants face. Excellent characterizations and storytelling, Mambo in Chinatown pulls you into the world of a young woman inspired by her mother to make a better life for herself in America.

 *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.


Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

Seems like an interesting story. Great 56.

Lisa Mandina said...

I've seen this book at the store, sounds very interesting!
Check out my Friday 56

Sandra Nachlinger said...

This sounds like a delightful book. I enjoy learning about cultures other than mine, and it sounds like this book would definitely provide glimpses into the lives of some Chinese Americans. I'll read it for sure.
Here's the link to my Friday post: SIX MONTHS IN MONTANA.

Katherine P said...

This sounds fascinating and completely unique. Love the excerpts. I hadn't come across this one but I'll definitely have to give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if it's my kind of read but I like these little bits. Thank you for sharing :D

my BB and 56

Tea said...

Those acronyms might get all mixed up in my head. I do want to read this one. Have been looking at it for awhile.

Brian Joseph said...

The book seems to start off strong.

The mixing of different cultures is always interesting to me.

fredamans said...

Must have been a hard life for her to grow up in. I saw this book a little while ago and have wanted to read it ever since.

Happy weekend!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Definitely sounds enticing. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

guiltlessreader said...

Sounds like a fun read! I love it when two cultures come together. Now I'm going to have to get the picture of someone mamboing in Chinatown out of my head. (Actually, now I am craving some machang.)

Elizabeth said...

Sounds intriguing enough to capture my attention.

THANKS for sharing.

Silver's Reviews
My Book Beginnings

Suko said...

This does sound captivating.

Your new blog design is lovely. :)

Harvee, I will be taking a break from blogging but will return soon. Enjoy your reading!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I enjoyed this one, but liked her first book even more.

Jean Kwok said...

Thanks so much for this review - I really appreciate it and the kind comments by readers too! I love the page 56 idea, brilliant. I hope people who decide to give the book a try enjoy it! :-)

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...