A hilarious debut novel about a wealthy but fractured Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent - and about the road trip they take across America that binds them back together.
Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he's just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family's ancestral lands - and his pride.
Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.
Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America - and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.
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Fun at first, but succumbs to fatal whininess
I'd try another book from Jade Chang, even if it contains untranslated Chinese. Not sure I can listen to any more of Nancy Wu's voice, though. When the conversations got whiny, she was far too good at conveying that, to the point I just had to turn it off.
One originally likable character suddenly revealed herself to be spoiled and whiny in a way that pulled the rug out from under me.
Perhaps if the narrator could somehow have delivered the whiny dialogue without such an unbearably grating, whiny tone, I might have survived, but she didn't, and I couldn't.
The book was entertaining and thought provoking for much of the way. I regret not being able to get through the narrative arc.
Everything Or Nothing