If you count yourself among the denizens of contemporary dark satire who assume that gleeful nihilism is the purview of only middle-aged white men like Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis, prepare to broaden your horizons and meet Angela Choi. This is Choi's first book, and Angela Lin, noted for her voice work on the novel Lost in Translation, narrates it with triumphant cheekiness.
This is the story of Fiona Yu, a jaded Bay Area lawyer approaching 30 while saddled with all the stereotypical baggage of living with her traditional Chinese parents. Choi herself lives in San Francisco, turned 30 not long ago, and quit her law firm to write this book. As this book contains about 20 murders, hopefully Choi's art does not mirror her life too completely. Fiona is a badass, not a Hello Kitty. A Hello Kitty is the kind of Asian woman who loses her virginity to an arranged marriage then spends the rest of her life quietly cooking and doing laundry.
Lin hilariously puts on her most cartoony Chinese and vacant Californian accents as Fiona bitterly mocks both the Asian and the American cultural institutions that keep her from having a good time. With the help of her sidekick, a childhood friend turned hymen reconstructive surgeon by day and lady-killer by night, Fiona plots to escape her arrogant boss, her boring fiancé, and her sheltered existence under the thumb of an exasperating father who is constantly reminding her to wear lipstick. Their tools for accomplishing these remarkable feats of social dexterity include a half dozen Snickers bars, a boat called The Countess with the ‘o’ scratched out, a pretty sexy collection of stiletto heels, a love of Kurt Cobain, and the will to do very bad things to people who sort of deserve it.
A refreshing change of pace from the usual black comedy, this tasty little tale of vengeance served hot over ramen noodles is equal parts charming and obnoxious. Angela Lin's salty sweet rendering of a unique new character aberration that possesses some wickedly familiar sentiments is cause for optimism on the satirical battlefield of inhumane thoughts and criminal deeds that has too long been dominated by white guys. Prepare to be shamefully delighted. Megan Volpert
On the outside, twenty-eight-year-old Fiona Yu appears to be just another Hello Kitty - an educated, well-mannered Asian American woman. Secretly, she feels torn between the traditional Chinese values of her family and the social mores of being an American girl. To escape the burden of carrying her family's honor, Fiona decides to take her own virginity. In the process, she makes a surprising discovery that reunites her with a long-lost friend, Sean Killroy. Sean introduces her to a dark world of excitement, danger, cunning, and cruelty, pushing her to the limits of her own morality. But Fiona's father throws her new life into disarray when he dupes her into an overnight trip that results in a hasty engagement to Don Koo, the spoiled son of a wealthy chef.
Determined to thwart her parents' plans to marry her off into Asian suburbia, Fiona seeks her freedom at any price. How far will she go to bury the Hello Kitty stereotype forever? Fiona's journey of self-discovery is biting and clever as she embraces her true nature and creates her own version of the American Dream, eliminating - without fear or remorse - anyone who stands in her way.
©2010 Angela S. Choi (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
Narration is slightly annoying, especially the singing of Nirvana songs. It happened frequently enough that I muted parts out of embarrassment for the narrator.
The story is mildly interesting. As an Asian female I feel that the cultural gap is a bit
exaggerated for the attention of the reader. Parts are a bit poseur/inauthentic and the characters are undeveloped, but entertaining enough. Great for listening to at work!
I'm not sure what caused me to purchase this book in the first place: it's totally different from my usual fare, and there were a couple of negative reviews that almost pursuaded me to skip it. I consider it a fortunate accident that I went ahead with my purchase.
If you enjoy the type of dark humor found in shows such as Dexter, you'll love Hello Kitty Must Die. I don't count myself among the easily amused, but I lost count of the times I laughed out loud on the metro listening to the heroine's machinations.
I do agree with a previous reviewer that the singing can get pretty annoying, but do not let this discourage you from downloading this book. The singing abates after the first few chapters as the story become more complex. (Either that or one becomes inured to it.)
Overall, the book is fresh, witty, funny and satisfying.
I use my left foot to type my reviews.
I bought this on impulse because the title caught my eye. First few chapters can be annoying with the constant sexual overtone and Nirvana pop culture singing, but the story becomes entertaining with the Chinese culture, killings and etc. Very much like the Dexter series, but better. Imagine Fiona Yu as Debra Morgan and Sean Killroy as Dexter, the serial killer. Fiona knows what is Sean is doing, but unlike Deb overlooking her brother, Fiona plays more active role.
Sean Killroy is more like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Sean is very arrogant and very sexually charge with his addiction of murders.
Hello Kitty Must Die is a cross between American Psycho and Dexter combined.
Unlike the ongoing garbage in the Dexter series, Hello Kitty Must Die is much more complete and well written and not looking for another sequel.
Quite unlike anything I've read so far, I've listened to the demo and have no idea what mysterious force made me get it (no, wait I do, it's the sale)
But in any case if you're up for something different and this book is on sale again get it but don't hold me liable...:P
The book opens in such a way that you just know this will be a totally different kind of read. This is very different than other things I've read, but reminds me of the show Dexter, which I absolutely love. From the opening scene I just mentioned to her serial killer screensavers at work, Fiona is quite the character.
She does enjoy causing chaos in other people's lives for her amusement, such as when she works part time at her parent's laundromat she'll put lipstick on a shirt collar or add a telephone number to a pocket to make it appear that the husband was cheating "just to spice things up" because she knows that the couples won't get divorced because they are proud older Chinese families O_o At one point, she went to a funeral home and switched the names on the urns with ashes in them "so that they can have a final adventure" by ending up with the wrong families.
I couldn't stop listening so I finished it in one long sitting on a day off. Most definitely would read her other books whenever she puts them out.
Story kept moving. Odd twists.
I read 60+ books a year and I can't compare this to anything. Closest would be a Kurt Vonnegut
I felt she was the Asian american lawyer character. I felt the character was talking to me and telling her story.
Laughed out loud a few times.
I have recommended this to friends.
This is a pretty good, very dark novel. For me the reader's occasional mispronounced words were surprisingly annoying. And her interpretation of how to sing Nirvana songs I'm sure has Kurt Cobain rolling in his grave. She repeatedly says "exscape" for escape, and a seismologist is a "seismotologist", etc. When you are a professional reader, you've got to do better. And no, the mistakes were not part of the book.
The first time I listened, I liked the reader, but not the story. Listened again because I lost everything else on my device on a trip, and appreciated the humor much more. If you can divorce yourself from the seriousness of the topic, you'll laugh...maybe even snort! The show "Dexter" is the same genre - if you like that, you'll like this.
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