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The Dim Sum of All Things

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,186 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Have you ever wondered:

Why Asians love "Hello Kitty"?

What the tattooed Chinese characters really say?

How to achieve feng shui for optimum make-out sessions?

Where Asian cuties meet the white guys who love them?

Then you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll realize this book is better than a Broadway production of Cats when you read scenes that include:

twenty-something Lindsey Owyang
Paperback, 344 pages
Published January 20th 2004 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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Showing 1-30
3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,186 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Aug 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Disappointing fiction about young Chinese woman's struggle to intergerate her Chinese racial/ethnic identity with her typical Middle Class American upbringing in San Francisco. Four words - " Hoarder of All Things Asian", the author loves this phrase to describe white men who seek and only date Asian women because they want the "stereotypical" Asian female. What's disturbing is not this concept, because I believe there is some merit to this, but the fact the lead female character Lindsey could b ...more
Sep 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely hilarious. I finally feel like I am reading about someone I can relate to. This fictionalized ABC (American Born Chinese) and her (mis)adventures in dating, work, family and life in general ring far-too-true for comfort at times.

I cringed at my OWN memories while reading the equally cringe-worthy (though much more amusing as it wasn't happening to me) experiences she had while finding the right guy (what does she call those yellow-fever types again?) among other job and family related
May 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, asian-lit
1.5 stars. Never judge a book by its cover. *sigh* It was the cover and the little blurb on the back that had me buying this at a library book sale a while back. I should also stop with the habit of needing to finish books that I start! The book had potential, but the overly-flowery prose and the quick-to-judge, insecure, superficial main character was just too much. She goes around labeling any white guy she meets who seems slightly interested in Asian culture as a "Hoarder..." (and yet she onl ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
The protagonist of this book, a young Chinese-American living in San Francisco, is extremely annoying. She's whiny, self-absorbed, and is at the same time obsessed with and disdainful of her heritage. I don't think that was the author's intention in writing this book, but that's certainly how it came off to me. The author also overuses adjectives and other descriptive phrases, oftentimes repeating herself. The ending is pat and corny and the character has barely grown over the course of the book ...more
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first I was thinking of saying that this book is Asian Chick-Lit, but it is so much better than that. It is the humorous tale of an American Chinese woman in her early 20's, still trying to find herself. She lives with her grandmother in San Francisco and she has a crush on a white guy at work and she's not sure how that will be received by her family. She is a woman in two worlds, trying to come to grips and embrace her Chinese heritage and also realizing she is totally American. It was inte ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
The main character was not likable in the least. It's hard to understand how a mid-twenty something year old can act so childishly regarding her crush. Also, the way this novel deals with stereotypes is confusing. I'm not sure if it's trying to reinforce the idea of Asian stereotypes or trying to break them down. Either way I was very disappointed in this book and how it portrayed immigrant families and Asian Americans. The writing became tiresome with too many metaphors and similes that hardly ...more
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
There were a few funny moments in this book but overall it wasn't that great. It's about a Chinese-American girl who begins dating a white guy. The back cover sounded so funny, I was really disappointed.
Kenneth Horner
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book but not necessarily for the actual writing of it but due to one simple reason. It is slightly like how me and my wife got together in book form.
We are a mixed race couple. My wife Chinese and myself Caucasian. There was some racial barriers put in front of us that we got over. So I can relate in a way to the characters.
Jul 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Amy Tan she is not.

A "3rd generation" Chinese woman growing up in SF and her world viewpoint. I thought it might be funny and interesting to relate to Lindsey's story.

Turns out there is no story. I think the *aim* was for a Bridget Jones genre love story.
Plenty of authors don't have a story per se (David Sedaris), but Wong Keltner had little ability in creating a character. She merely listed observations of a Chinese woman's viewpoint with a wee bit too much snark and not enough humor. The bo
David Schwan
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Not a particularity deep book but fun to read. Set in San Francisco it covers a lot of the culture of the city. A fair amount of the novel is set in Chinatown, and we are presented with a good view of working (non tourist) Chinatown--at least 2-3 times a year I go shopping on Grant street. The novel starts well but the last 100 pages seem rushed, as if a page limit was looming or a deadline for publication was looming. The comedy found earlier in the book was not sustained. The hippie ABC Aunt w ...more
Mar 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Not funny or insightful, or even particularly well-written. The protagonist spends the book trying to avoid white men who have a fetish for Asian women but falls for one anyway. She doesn't spend any time at all examining why she (a Chinese woman) is attracted to white men. In fact, she and her (also Asian) best friend have never dated Asian men. Seriously, one girl tells the other, "I hear they (Asian men) have small penises." This book is the Dim Sum of unexamined interracial dating. Avoid.
Feb 27, 2007 rated it liked it
There are plenty of Asian-American-struggling-to-reconcile-two-cultures books out there. This wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that great either. One memorable part, however, is the kitty-chan toaster and the drinking of ovaltine. =) Read to find out what I mean. If you're looking for a book about that particular struggle (and oh, I've read plenty of them) Gish Jen's Typical American is a good choice. Another one I'm quite fond of is, unsurprisingly, Amy Tan's The Joy-Luck Club.
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I love books that make me laugh out loud, prompting my husband to ask, "What's so funny?" There are so many funny moments, funny because they're believable, that I feel like I read almost the whole book out loud to him.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
I lost patience with this book. Started promisingly enough and I enjoyed the subtle incorporation of explanations of Chinese culture. But... the main character lacked likeability and I found her a bit insipid.
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Keltner's wry observations kill me. I'm not sure if it's an Asian-American thing, but I see a lot of myself in her words. Her detailing of life as a product of two cultures is simultaneously extremely specific and completely universal and makes for a really enjoyable summer read!
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was a cute book and perfect for a light read. I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit. I related quite a bit. It is a light read and perfect to wind down.
Rebecca Moll
I love stories with young adult protagonists. Their actions, inner thoughts, their blunders and observations, as they figure out their life, resolve their conflicts, offers an unseen light, a different perspective than those older adults, who should have figured it all out.

There is no end to learning. Wisdom is not time dependent.

A few years back I completed a creative writing course at a local community college, purposely choosing community college instead of graduate level, for the sole reason
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
The main character in this book is so dry, critical, insecure, and hypocritical that I almost couldn't finish reading. She seems to resent her culture, relatives, and life situation, yet becomes super offended when she sense a hint of accidental cultural appropriation from someone she cares about. Can't figure out what her love-interest (who is barely a focus of the book) even sees in her. Ready to shelve this book and never think about it again.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delightful, particularly the dialogue between family members. Set in San Francisco, Lindsey Owyang discovers her true self. An American-born Chinese woman who lives with her maternal grandmother Pau Pau searches for her place in the world as she becomes thoughtful about family rituals and relationships,and learns about her family's past. Author Kim Won Keltner has a delicious sense of humor. A really fun read, hard to put down.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Horrible. The description on the back made this book sound like it was going to be really good. The main character was so repulsive and I was turned off by excessive cliches and brand name dropping. The main character also was extremely childish and I could not make myself finish this book.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Zero stars should really be an option. The blurb made this book sound so good. I am sorry to say it was not. It was almost horrible. I am waving the white flag and moving on. The main character was borderline repulsive, I just couldn't keep reading..
Denise Tarasuk
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What fun! I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Dim Sum of All Things! There are so many lessons to learn from the characters. Kim Wong Keltner spins a story that kept me reading on! I had to go for Dim Sum this morning as I finished the book. Such a delightful page turner that made me feel good!
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like it. Honestly, it wasn't so bad at first, but then it happened. Not to spoil anything, but close to the end Characters Started Acting Like They Are Stupid For No Good Reason. And when that happens, I cannot bring myself to forgive it, the whole thing is ruined for me.
Too bad.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was under the impression that this would be a Sedaris-esque comedy romp and boy was I wrong
Ben Shakey
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Funny enough
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This had a surprising amount of detail and pull for a book that is this easy to read. Maybe it’s just how enjoyable it is, because it isn’t simplistic or anything. Well done.
April Bustamante
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Makes you smile and laugh out loud when you read this book.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cute, but it could have used some additional translations for some Chinese terms. But maybe I’m just too lo fan for that 😂
Naomi Solomon-Oblath
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
A bit junky (chick lit) but I liked the exploration of cultural identity that ultimately occurred.
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sassy singles
I loved this book!

Yes, the main character is superficial, but it comes across as a very honest telling. I love that she does stupid stuff and gets herself into vulnerable situations, like where she could have been raped by some random stranger, and yet she goes on about life, and things turn out fine. Why do I love that? Because it's TRUE! Crazy stuff like that really does happen ... we get drunk and end up pooping all over ourselves because there was never any friggin' bathroom when you needed
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