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Fresh Off the Boat

by: Eddie Huang

New York City NY: Ppiegel and Gram Trade Paperbacks 2013, $15.00, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8129-8335-7

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(3) page(s): 20

This book has no recipes; and is not a cookbook. It is often funny, a provocative true tale and memoir of a Chinese-American boy growing up and trying to fit in, but does not. He finds himself in a stifling culture and not fitting in any level nor any time. As the son of a brash intense restauranteur father, both have a passion for food as this son seek different ways to seek it. Like his dad, he eventually becomes a chef and a restauranteur finding his place in society, though not really saying so.

From boyhood through manhood, he tells of trials and tribulations growing up. This memoir of his living a continent away from his heritage, a brash youngster who does not fit in, does show him loving his family and friends, always searching for things including the perfect dumpling. He functions better as he ages, continues his search often unaware he is doing so.

Reading his trials is sometime a belly laugh, often a tale of his tribulations. This book and its tales reflect his anger. It is anything but about a kid from a model minority as he shares his inability to cope in an environment he does not seem able to deal with. Reading what he goes through is delving into his anger more than his ethnicity as he tries to adjust to his new environment.

The book ends abruptly hardly learning about his becoming an American, a cook, or a restaurateur; so does this review!

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