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Everything Asian: A Novel

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3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  231 ratings  ·  48 reviews
You're twelve years old.A month has passed since your Korean Air flight landed at lovely Newark Airport.Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable.Your mother isn't exactly happy, either.You're seeing your father for the first time in five years, and although he's nice enough, he might be, well--how can you put this delicately?--a loser.

You can't speak English, but that doe
...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 14th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 708)
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Bert Edens
I really enjoyed this book. It really delves into the stories of the Kim family, how they struggled to survive in America, and as important, how they managed to survive with each other. The father goes to America in advance of the rest of the family, and once they join him, all members struggle to adapt to the adjusting roles.

Highly recommended for anyone who loves to read about Korean culture or just a good in-depth looking into families and emotions and day-to-day struggles.
Louise
I loved this story!! Young David Kim immigrates to the United States from Korea in the 1980’s with his mother and sister. Their father has already been in America for the past five years trying to build a business and getting some money behind him before his family re-joined him. He owns a store in New Jersey called “East Meets West” in the Peddlerstown Mall and sells various items such as: kimonos, candles, vases, dragons and other miscellaneous items.

The chapters alternate between stories tol
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Shin Yu
Written from a variety of different perspectives - Everything Asian revolves around an immigrant Korean family that sets up shop in a suburban American strip mall. The book chronicles their efforts to adjust to a new life and culture by getting to know their neighbors, attending ESL classes, and everyday interactions in their retail store. The book begins with narration from David Kim - a 12-year-old boy, as he leaves behind Korea with his mother and sister to join his father, who's been working ...more
Jamie
An immigrant story, Woo switches narrators with each chapter. The story covers the first year that a Korean man's family (wife, teen girl and teen boy) join him in the States after being separated for five years. There are several conflicts -- most of them expected after a family has been apart for so long. I liked all the characters and enjoyed stepping inside their shoes for a chapter. It was not a particularly happy story, but it's written in a light tone. It was great pool-side reading.
Mary
I was expecting a more humorous novel, but this story--while it did have humorous moments--was actually quite poignant and even a little melancholy. Mr.Woo uses multiple voices to depict not only the Kims' struggles but also moments in the lives of the other Peddlers Town merchants to paint an affecting portrait of what it is to be part of a family, in all its messy glory.
Shannon
The novel begins with the main narrator and his sister fifteen to twenty years beyond the bulk of the story. The narrator discovers that the shopping center that had previously housed the family store has been demolished. The first chapter begins the story itself, about a family recently reunited in the United States after five years apart.

Instead of focusing solely on the story of the family, the narrator switches each chapter to someone else involved in the family's life in some fashion. This
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Libraryscat
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ACCULTURATION is the � cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture.� Having studied Cultural Anthropology in my college career, I remember that full acculturation is often easier for younger children than adults and that learning the language is paramount to this process. Even so, definitions and lectures cannot take the place of actual experiences. While I do not know David Ki ...more
Q_Barb
(newly arrived in the States from Korea in the early 1980s, Dae Joon, 12, does not know his dad and does not want to. Father left five years ago to make a home for his family in New Jersey. Now Dae Joon (“David” in America) and his older sister must adapt to a new world, working after school in Dad’s Asian gift store in the shabby Peddlers Town mall, attending ESL classes with their embarrassing parents, and discovering secrets and betrayal. Told in sharp, immediate vignettes, mostly from the bo ...more
Pamela
A very graceful, lively, and generous-spirited novel about a family from Korea that runs a shop in a Jersey Shore mall called Peddler's Village. ("Everything Asian" is a nod to the son's secret name for their Asian-goods store.) The main narrator is 12-year-old David, who has just arrived from Seoul with his mother and sister to meet his father, who has already been in the States for several years. There's both comedy and deep sadness in the difficulties the family has in reuniting--the natural ...more
Laura
2.5 stars--There was a lot of potential in this book, but it ended up feeling underdeveloped, and loosely strung together. Give it a chance though if you like stories about immigrant families as the author did portray many of their struggles with authenticity.
Paul Clayton
I finished Everything Asian today and now I’m a little blue. (I really enjoyed this story! What am I going to read tonight?) Immersing myself in this character-driven novel day after day, I felt like a house guest of this young immigrant family making their way in New Jersey. Theirs is a universal story, and their language barriers and cultural differences are like a spice added to a wholesome meal, eaten alone in the back of a darkened restaurant. The characters are complex and very human (I wa ...more
Jeanne
Jun 18, 2009 Jeanne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeanne by: Booklist
David Kim is twelve years old and has just come to the United States with his mother and sister. His father has been here for five years, establishing himself and enabling his family to finally join him.

The family owns a store in New Jersey, East Meets West. Located in a mall called Peddler Town, the Kim's store is the center of their lives. Stories of the other merchants and their families pepper David's narrative.

The point of view shifts from David to other characters, making for an uneven an
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Rahadyan
Sung J. Woo's debut novel, Everything Asian, chronicles a year in the life of David (aka Dae Joon) Kim, a teenage emigre from Korea, and his family in small-town New Jersey. Set in the early 1980's, chapters that focus on David's struggles with the cultural and generational divide in his new home alternate with vignettes from the viewpoint of other characters, such as his sister Susan (In Sook), his parents and fellow shop owners in their central N.J. stripmall. The characters and situations wer ...more
Heidi
This book for YA and adults is aptly named, because while it does tell the story of a store that sells everything Asian, it also subtly reveals that everything is Asian as it is common to the human experience of fitting in. Part of Woo's brilliance is his ability to write both for and from the insider-outsider perspectives while commenting on that very dichotomy. Language that seems clunky and contrived actually portrays characters-Korean, Western, and others-as bound by their search for love an ...more
Chris
As a general rule, I'm leery of reading books about Korean immigrants, but the author does a good job of telling the story of this individual family, rather than getting stuck in the rut of trying to define the 1st/2nd-generation Asian American identity. While the book starts out telling the story of the Kim family, it branches out into a collection of vignettes about the other characters in the novel. Somewhat depressing, and it's not really a story with a nicely wrapped up ending, but written ...more
Virginia
This is a cute book. There were so many moving parts that didn't really make sense to me why they were relevant. Good read.
Barbara
read it for library book club - not great.
easy read but not worth the time.
Thomas
"Besides, Father added, this was a man's job, this is what men do, we are men, we do these kinds of things that women don't do - which apparently included talking like an idiot."
Julie Bowerman
Not the page turner that I'd hoped, but an interesting perspective on the immigrant experience. The novel follows 12-year-old David's first year in the US as he, his mother and his sister finally join his father in New Jersey after a five year separation. They operate a shop in Peddler's Village, a low budget mall. The other shop owners' quirks and conflicts are revealed as the year unfolds with triumphs and tragedies. More of the latter than the former.
Marjanne
This was a good read. The story kept me engaged and the characters were interesting. Essentially this is a story of a Korean family's adjustment to their US immigration, primarily narrated through the son's eyes. I likes that the story was linear, but told from different perspectives and characters (especially characters that are secondary to the main family of characters). There were no huge plot surprises, but the story was interesting.
Noah
Incredibly disappointing. Little to no real development in this one - and though this is theoretically a coming of age novel, there's no real "coming of age" to speak of, at least from my reading of it. Being half Korean, I really wanted to relate to the ethnic discussions the book was trying to have, but I ultimately felt let down by how stilted and trite these discussions became. A total missed opportunity of a book.
Stephanie
I had to read this book as a requirement for my AP Language class. The beginning was kind of dry, but it slowly got better. I enjoyed the random silly events that happened throughout the story. I liked how Woo kept changing perspectives to keep it entertaining.

However, I just liked the book. I didn't love it. It was okay, but I wouldn't recommend it if you are looking for a brilliant read.
Cindy Rohrbeck
A quick read and good novel! Covers the course of one year after moving from Korea to America -- and from the perspective of several different characters.
Dina
A novel in stories about the family and associates of David Kim, a young boy fresh off the plane from Korea come to join his father in America. Each story offers a fresh perspective on the family's struggles to become a family again (after a 5-year separation), to learn English, and to try to fit into life in the United States. At times funny. other times poignant, but always enlightening.
Ann
Why did you start with present day if you were never going to return to it? Hmmm.
Kara
I enjoyed reading about a Korean boy's experience moving to the U.S. with his mom and sister to reunite with his dad. The family had been apart for years (I think 8 years)and the books was about the family getting to know each other and about running their store. I don't mind endings that are not tidy and vague, but I felt this ending was abrupt.
Woolly1
I really enjoyed this book-- the multiple narrators were interesting and believable, their voices rang true. While the provocative title suggests a broad look at "everything Asian," the author tells a very particular story of a young boy's family's transition to life in small-town, 1980s America. There's perfect irony there.

Hyun
This is a great debut novel about a new Korean immigrant's life in a New Jersey mall. Very easy to read and bittersweet. It's very well written with chapters alternating between the narrator and each character in the novel. I expected a typical "immigrant lit", but I found it surprisingly refreshing.
Claire
This was a fun, charming story of an immigrant family and a sad little mall where they had an Asian gifts shop. I loved that the chapters alternated between a hilarious 12-year-old and other interesting characters, mainly from the family and from the mall. I zipped through this in a couple of days.
CLA_MA
David Kim, a recent Korean immigrant, learns what it means to come of age in an American immigrant community. Humorous stories of two cultures revolve around his nuclear family and the broader family he encounters in the strip mall where his family runs the “East Meets West” import store.
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Sung J. Woos short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeneys, and KoreAm Journal. His debut novel, Everything Asian (2009), has received praises from the Christian Science Monitor and a starred review from Kirkus. His short story Limits was an Editors Choice winner in Carve Magazines 2008 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. A graduate of Cornell University with an MFA from ...more
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