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Daughter of Heaven: A Memoir with Earthly Recipes
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Daughter of Heaven: A Memoir with Earthly Recipes

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  68 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The powerful yet touching memoir of a Chinese-American woman and her grandmother by an extraordinarily talented author who has been compared to Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 4th 2005 by Arcade Publishing (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 138)
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I picked up Daughter of Heaven from the dollar store a few weeks ago. It looked like a memoir about food, and even had the added bonus of real Chinese food recipes. All that for $1? Why not?
It turned out to be a book relating the events of the author's life as they revolved around food. Some chapters were sumptuous and fabulous in description, others were mini-essays about the ancient history of China, and others on the author's strong dislike for her father.
Halfway through the book, I determine
The book felt disjointed, so I tried to think of it as though someone were telling stories from their life; as we usually do not learn about someone straight through from childhood until adult experiences. Reading about other cultures is always interesting, esp. when someone's background warrants knowledge. Her memories are explained through food, which sounded wonderful. My grown boys, as well as their friends (after a hug) are usually greeted with "when did you last eat?" I only wish I were ca ...more
This is an autobiography of a Chinese-American woman who writes about her food memories as a way of understanding her heritage. In some ways it is like The Joy Luck Club, because the author as an American raised is struggling with her parents and grandparents, whose lives were wrapped up in historical events she doesn't remotely understand. In other ways her life is quite different from Amy Tan's fictional daughter: as a New Yorker whose family was also European and who lived in the suburbs, she ...more
Jan 11, 2008 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies, history buffs, anyone interested in the immigrant experience
Shelves: food-and-cooking
A memoir by a Chinese American writer that focuses on family history and family relationships through the lens of traditional Chinese cookery. The relationships of the most significance are Ms. Li's with her father and with his mother, Nai-Nai. I loved reading about the touched that part of me that loves movies like Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Like Water for Chocolate, and (my favorite) Tampopo that explore how food is way more than fuel to keep our bodies alive. Food is love, sex, power - ...more
Maybe I was biased from the start, since in the introduction the author clearly states that she "recoils from the kitchen" and has better things to do than hunt down ingredients from gourmet stores. Nothing quite like insulting the most likely audience for your book. The book lacks structure, the author jumps around from story to story, sometimes interrupting herself with a random memory or flashback. She is terribly into metaphor, so much so that when she wants to tell you something is really h ...more
It is slow to start, but once I adapted to her roundabout communication style, I was able to relax and enjoy. I think this book was, in some ways, more for her to learn about herself and understand why she is who she is, than for us, the readers. It deals with a Chinese-American woman's experiences growing up in 1950's New Jersey and the tensions & cultural differences in her family between the different generations - mainly with her father. An interesting story and it reminded me to look mo ...more
Jaimee Schwitchtenberg
I never, ever, read non-fiction books. But, my dad got me this for my birthday so I thought I would read it to make him happy. By chapter 3, I thought this book is really good! I absolutely love the recipes in between the chapters!
This is a sort of biography-ish book about Leslie Li and the rest of her family, but most importantly her grandmother, Nai-Nai. It talks about Leslie growing up and going to France and China and Guilin, her grandmother's native town. This is simply a beautifully desc
Nice stories, great recepies.
Marjorie Elwood
For a while, I found this memoir too piecemeal, as it jumped from character to character, and then to recipes. The last third of the book, however, ties together the threads into a strong and heart-breaking narrative about her family. What makes it work so well is the universal nature of the themes she explores. The ending gave me goosebumps.
An okay memoir - somewhat disjointed and meandering, some intellectual stuff. The stories set in China, particularly those about grandmother NaiNai are most interesting, involving history and the ever-fascinating and complex Chinese culture. Best recipe included: Soy Sauce Chicken
I like the first half of the book, but the second half felt disjointed and self-indulgent. Recipes, though. I love the recipes.
Doug Gruse
I loved Leslie Li's stories of growing up as a Chinese-American, especially her tales of her Old World grandmother.
Very prolific writer - her sentences are beautifully written. I plan to try out some of her recipes as well.
Wandering but Delightful non the less ! Very Simple Chinese recipes - was hoping for a little more .
Diane Johnson
Insight into contemporary Chinese heritage...biography. I really give it 3 1/2 stars.
Carol Yee
This should have been a good book, but there were too many errors in what she wrote.
kind of boring, not as "foodie" as I wanted it to be
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Jul 22, 2015
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