I came across this book on Goodreads and it struck me as something that was maybe light and interesting and similar to my situation. Although I wasn’t completely wrong, this book took me down a path I wasn’t prepared for, but I was on the edge of my seat the whole ride.
Aysha teaches English to students in New York and is working through her family issues and trying to discover herself amidst the craziness. She meets Da Ge, a Chinese student, and her world is forever changed. He teaches her about his China and cooks her Chinese dishes, and she finds herself keeping their relationship secret.
I don’t want to get into too many plot details since the best part of this book is the mystery and brilliant ride it takes you on as you read. I found myself relating to all of the characters in some way. They were all well-developed and unique, and none of their stories bored me, though I found myself wishing to hear more about Aysha and Da Ge’s romance.
The cultural aspects about Asian and Chinese culture brought a familiarity and also a distance to me as a reader. Living in Asia, I can relate to many of the experiences the characters had, but having only ever been to Hong Kong, I had fun picturing the scenes of China in my head, not completely able to relate. Aysha is a newcomer to Chinese culture, and her guides Da Ge and Xiao Wang help her understand what the important things are, and later she sees China herself and through the eyes of natives.
The writing in this book was electrifying and bold. I really loved the overall style of the book, and I felt that each chapter was perfectly placed. However, I found myself distracted by comma and grammar usage here and there, but once the plot heated up, the characters were all that mattered.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever lived or travelled abroad. It will take you on an astonishing journey but you might need to take your tissues with you. Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, this book has given me so much to think about, and I doubt I will be able to stop for a while.