The Dim Sum of All Things

by Kim Wong Keltner

Avon, January, 2004.
Trade Paperback, 344 pages.
ISBN: 0060560754
Subgenre: Contemporary

The Dim Sum of All Things by Kim Wong Keltner 25 year-old Lindsey Owyang is a third generation ABC (American Born Chinese) woman living in San Francisco. While working at Vegan Warrior magazine, Lindsey battles to keep a dark secret that could get her fired: she is a meat eater. She also has a terrible crush on a co-worker who doesn't seem to know she exists. An underpaid receptionist, Lindsey lives with her grandmother Pau Pau, who spends all her time gambling at the mah jongg dens, applying noxious smelling Chinese ointments and setting up Lindsey with one nightmarish date after another. When Lindsey's not avoiding her embarrassing family or various Hoarders of All Things Asian (men who are obsessed with Asian women for all the wrong reasons), she spends her time wondering about her family's past and her own, murky future. When Lindsey gets to travel to China with Pau Pau, she gains insight into Pau Pau's early life, as well as that of her family, giving her a greater appreciation of her ancestry and her formidable grandmother.

First time author Kim Wong Keltner writes with ferocity and humor in this very funny story which puts a different spin on the typical "single girl in the city" storyline. Through Lindsey, Ms. Keltner explores what it's like to grow up in America, looking Chinese, living in a Chinese area, yet not speaking much Chinese or even knowing much Chinese history. Caught between the demands of the traditional, elder generation and her parents, who fully embraced American pop culture, raising Lindsey on The Brady Bunch, Spaghetti-Ohs, Velveeta and Wonder Bread, Lindsey does the best she can while trying to forge an identity for herself. San Francisco comes alive with Ms. Keltner's vivid descriptions, and Lindsey herself is a heroine that readers will root for, as she searches for love and her destiny in the big city.

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This review was published in the March-April, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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