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.
©2016 Jade Chang Inc. (P)2016 Recorded Books
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I'm afraid that this story added up to a very long nothing for me. In the seven plus hours I have listened I haven't found one thing funny or even smile worthy. Nothing strikes me as insightful or poking fun at people who will do anything to make money and fame and then loose it all.
I took the headline for my review from a quote from the book. I couldn't agree less with this concept and many of the themes and beliefs the author embraces in this novel. To me, this isn't a story about a "lovable" businessman and a "charming romp" across America. Instead the book is filled with ridiculous and undeveloped themes about ownership, money, art and family. I know it's fiction--but really???
If this writing is all a pretense at parody it missed the mark for me. Instead what I found was heavy handed lecturing. In addition some readers may find many of the stories and much of the dialogue offensive on multiple levels. I hated the whole thing.
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.
I wanted to love this book, but the characters were shallow and uninspiring. I listened to halfway through then gave up because I just didn't care what happened.
"I really want a light hearted fun book after listening to some intense stories about WWII. For me this book was anything but."
From the ridiculous story line to the graphic sex for me it was a total disappointment.
A gaudy new money Chinese immigrant family goes bust, then must travel cross-country together by car to stay with the one family member who hasn't lost it all. What a terrific premise. Unfortunately, there is nothing fun or funny or sly or even that interesting about the rest of the the story. The cartoony characters are unsympathetic. The situations are unoriginal. The ending doesn't really fit with anything, making the reader if this is a fictionalized family memoir instead of a well-crafted narrative. If only this writer had a strong editor. The performance, however is great. Excellent reader.
A wonderful story about family, love and living. And the narrator was one of the best I have listened to on Audible.
I am rounding up on my review because I couldn't decide if I really liked it or if was okay. There are equal amount of things I liked and didn't like. For example, at first I disliked the whole family, but they slowly grew on me. Also, at times it wasn't about moving the story along but a political and social commentary, but it did help frame the position of each character. What I think I liked least was thatthe title is misleading. They family was at odds with itself more than anything else and when they dug deeper they really weren't as separated as they thought. In the end, it is a good book about the immigrant experience and the challenges of inter-generational relationships.
This was so painful to "read." I only finished it because it was part of my book club. The narrator is good, but that is the only good thing. Story is boring, not funny at all, and there are parts in Chinese that are never translated. A better choice would be the book called Crazy Rich Asians.
I think the performance was excellent, but overall I think the book itself is good but not great. The characters have a tremendous amount of zest and life to them, but I was left hanging by a lot of the intentions and actions within the story. I don't feel fulfilled like I was expecting to.
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