M.'s Reviews > The Year of the Dog

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
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May 04, 2010

really liked it
Read in May, 2010

I'm guessing this book is at least partially a fictionalized autobiography by the author. Known as Pacy at home and Grace at school, the main character is a Taiwanese-American girl working out her cultural connections to both Taiwan and the US. She and her older sister have been the only Taiwanese children at their school, but this changes with the arrival of Melody, another Taiwanese girl Pacy's age who quickly becomes Pacy's best friend. Each family has chosen different American customs to adopt and Pacy and Melody both enjoy the contrasts. A further contrast is provided by short story-form memories shared by Pacy's mother telling how various situations were handled when she was young in Taiwan. The book is set during the Year of the Dog by the Chinese calendar, a year in which Pacy is supposed to figure out her talents. Ultimately she wins a story writing contest and she sees her future as a writer. (Just as an aside, her story was about ugly Chinese vegetables which look funny but are delicious in soup; we have here at the library Grace Lin's book, "The Ugly Vegetables.)

This is an easy book to read, probably 4th grade level or so, and it's charming.
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