CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨'s Reviews > Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim
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Read my full review on my blog, The Quiet Pond.

I love books about food, especially from a cultural perspective. I love books about family. I love books that center their stories on Chinese women.
But this book -- I just did not enjoy reading this at all. And that makes me really sad.

- Follows Natalie, a Chinese-American woman who returns to the neighbourhood where she grew up following the death of her mother. She decides to reopen her grandmother's restaurant and meets and connects with her neighbours along the way.
- I'll start with the one thing that I liked: this book does have its heart in the right place. The story explores the impact of gentrification and celebrates the beauty of food and how food is so important to connections, history, culture, and life.
- However, I cannot remember the last time a book felt grating to read. I seldom criticise writing because I know that writers have their own styles but, I genuinely think that the writing in this was bad, unpolished, and in desperate need of an editor. The writing reminded me of the way a lot of first year university students write - that writing fancy means writing smart and well. The purple prose was ridiculous, repetitive, and just frustrating to read.
- The fabulism in this was weird and out of place. The book has distinct tones of a contemporary romance, but it is punctuated by moments of fabulism (i.e., at times, Natalie's tears turned to crystals -- but why?). The fabulism didn't enhance the story either - it was just... weird.
- Furthermore, this book is not a romance. It does have a romance, yes, but it is a subplot in the story, with Natalie's family history and opening her restaurant taking center stage. But the romance made me laugh at times because of how ridiculous it was? (view spoiler)
- The explorations of family and intergenerational pain and strength were fine - but, again, it was difficult to appreciate when the writing felt so contrived and forced. I tried my best to look past the writing and tried to appreciate its themes and what it was trying to say, but the writing does not meet you halfway, which made it difficult to appreciate its messages.

Trigger/content warning: (view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

February 17, 2020 – Started Reading
February 17, 2020 – Shelved
February 25, 2020 –
24.0% "Ahhhhh I really am not jelling with the writing style at the moment... so I'm going to try and focus on the themes and the story!"
March 13, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I had the same issues, unfortunately :( Great review!


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