Becky Spratford's Reviews > Number One Chinese Restaurant

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
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really liked it

Three Words That Describe This Book: Dysfunctional Families, Multiple Narrators, Leisurely Paced

This is the story behind the local Chinese restaurant that everyone eats at. You know the one, owned by a Chinese family in the suburbs that is the place where everyone, no matter their race, goes for special occasions, the fancy one. You know the place. We all do. That is the draw here. It is why you pick up the book and enter Li's world. To see the story behind something you think you know so well.

The characters all have a chance to tell their story and explain their place in the world of this restaurant. The characters are all well developed here and none of them turn into a stereotype in any way, even when you think they might. There are many surprises under the surface here. People make choices good, but mostly bad, as people in dysfunctional families the restaurant "family" included] tend to. There is melodrama at times, but it is very entertaining.

As debuts go this is pretty good. The pace lags at times. There are places where things could be cut, subplots that linger too long. Also, I was not a huge fan of how it all wraps up. These this act issues, where the ending seems rushed are very common in debuts. The writing is strong and the story and the characters very compelling though. It was very good.

Readalikes: Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang for another Chinese dysfunctional family story with multiple narrators and an engaging storyline, although Chang's novel moves a bit faster and does not have the third act issues I found here.

Fans of CRAZY RICH ASIANS will also enjoy this book.

Other great over the top dysfunctional family stories which will appeal here are THE NEST Cynthia D'aprix Sweeney, novels by Jonathan Troppper, The Red House by Mark Haddon.

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Reading Progress

August 5, 2018 – Started Reading
August 5, 2018 – Shelved
August 18, 2018 – Finished Reading

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