What I’m Reading

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This one really left me on the fence as to whether or not I like it. Part of me did because I found the revealing of Eleanor’s past to be rather intriguing, but then part of me wanted more from that reveal.

Eleanor was a pretty quirky individual, which is no surprise considering her past. Raymond has a pretty obvious crush on her and so I don’t know why he never simply states that to her all things considered.

Overall, I did find the characters to be entertaining and captivating. I could’ve lived without the whole bit involving Sammy.

My rating: ★★★½/5 stars

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

I love, love Ali Wong’s humour. Her pervertedness is hilarious and her cultural references are totally relatable. When I heard she was coming out with a book I just know I had to get it! (Why did I wait so long? Because it was on sale last week and I didn’t earn the nickname “Chincy *maiden name*” by accident.)

Anyway, I generally don’t gravitate towards memoirs or biographies, but Wong is so relatable to me that I wanted to give Dear Girls a shot. While it’s formatted as letters to her two young daughters, I applaud her openness about her life experiences and not hiding anything (and I mean anything) from them. They’re likely going to need therapy after they read this.

In a nutshell, if you don’t like her stand-up specials on Netflix, you probably wouldn’t like this book. For me, it was a bit repetitive, but I still felt like I got a really good glimpse into her background and life before she really “made it.”

My rating: ★★★★/5

What I’m Reading

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

At first, I had the hardest time getting into this book. I’ll fully admit that I forgot what the book jacket said (ebooks are funny that way), thought it was going to entirely be about hockey (I’m a “bad” Canadian and don’t follow hockey all that closely anymore), and I nearly gave up on it because I found myself nearly falling asleep while reading through the first few chapters.

I’m glad I didn’t.

Once I got through the first few chapters and got to the “main event” I was shocked and angry and couldn’t put it down. It reminded me a lot of Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted in the way that it discusses entitlement and privilege and the Blame Game.

While I’m late to the game (no pun intended) to reading any of Backman’s work, overall I really enjoyed his style of writing in this particular book. It was very “matter-of-factly” which reflected most of the town’s attitude towards hockey and what winning meant.

The ending? It was wonderfully wrapped up and I wouldn’t ask for any more.

I encourage anyone who picks up this book to push past the first few chapters of “hockey stuff” – you won’t be disappointed by the rest of it.

My rating: ★★★★/5

What I'm Reading

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Another Lisa See book, another satisfying read!

While technically this is a historical fiction, the timeline starts in the late-80’s and spans into the early 2000’s, so it’s hard to really categorize is as such. History-wise, we learn about China’s tea industry and the culture of those who grow the coveted pu’er, so I suppose it fits the bill in a way.

Anyway! The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane follows two characters: Li-yan as she comes of-age and figures out what she truly wants to do with her life. (Don’t we all?) The cultural practises of her people, the Akha, are as shocking as they are intriguing.

The second narrative Lisa See switches to is that of Haley, who as a Chinese girl adopted by a white, American couple, is also trying to figure out who she truly is.

The one of the things I enjoyed the most about The Tea Girl was the emphasis on Asian stereotypes in North American culture. As a half-Asian who’s pretty awful at math, why is it that the majority of white people think we’re all going to be prodigies of some form? Or want to be one, for that matter. I’ll stop there before I get too ranty.

Overall, The Tea Girl kept me reading until it was beyond my bedtime. I loved the bond Li-yan shared with her mother despite their differences of opinion of their culture. I’m really only docking a 1/2 star because the whole thing with the tiger was a little ridiculous. I didn’t even mind the ending and thought it was pretty picture-perfect needing no more explanation.

My rating: ★★★★½/5 stars