Mambo in Chinatown
By Jean Kwok
Paperback, 370 pages
2014, Riverhead Books
I received a free ARC of this book via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.
Charlie Wong is a twenty-two-year-old, living in a tiny apartment in Chinatown with her father and sister, her mother having died years earlier. She works as a dishwasher at the same restaurant where her father is a noodle-maker and she’s miserable. Then she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio and discovers a side of herself she never knew; yet she must hide her new job and emerging talents as a dancer from her father. Then her sister starts to become ill and Charlie must try to help her as best she can, while Charlie’s father shuns Western medicine.
I’m doing a mini review on this book because I just don’t have much to say about it – not every book gives me deep thoughts, or lots of talking points when I read it. Yet, I was interested from page one and ended up absolutely loving this book. Charlie is a very likeable character – she’s strong and smart, but stubborn and she can be self-centered too. She, and the rest of the cast, felt very human. I became emotionally invested in her and her sister’s story and I shared Charlie’s hopes for her future. Overall, the story felt real to me.
I wish I had more to say – but I just find myself wanting to say over and over again, “I loved it!” I read it in just a couple of days and often told myself “just one more chapter” whenever I was trying to put it down. I haven’t read Kwok’s other book, but after finishing Mambo in Chinatown I immediately ordered it from Amazon.
The back of the book says the hardcover will be on sale June 24 – so check it out!