Title: The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim
ISBN: 1338656112 (ISBN13: 9781338656114)
Edition Language: English
Setting: Sydney, New South Wales (Australia)
An authentic novel about growing up in a migrant Asian family with a mother who is suffering from a debilitating mental illness.
Anna Chiu has her hands full. When she’s not looking after her brother and sister or helping out at her father’s restaurant, she’s taking care of her mother, whose debilitating mental illness keeps her in bed most days. Her father’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could be a normal teen.
But when her mother finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as her mother’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling is a heart-wrenching, true-to-life exploration through the often neglected crevices of culture, mental illness, and family. Its strong themes are balanced by a beautiful romance making it a feel-good, yet important read.
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this book because this has been a book I’ve wanted to read for a while!
From the very beginning of the book, I was hooked by everyone and the events that Anna faces.
My heart goes out for Anna because she a junior in high school and has to take care of so much of the home life with her father working at the family restaurant and her mother staying in bed more days than not. She has to not only worry about making it through her classes with people being mean to her about Anna being Asian, but she also has to grow up a lot faster than one would want and assume so many responsibilities that starts to take a toll on her.
I know personally that it’s hard being in school as an Asian. I was fortunate enough that no one ever picked on me or made me feel embarrassed about my ethnicity even when I didn’t grow up in an Asian household, so seeing some of the things that Anna faced made me realize how lucky I was considering I grew up in the Deep South.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling is an emotional book that shows not only the struggles of being an Asian teenager in high school but the reality of having a parent with mental illness and how debilitating it can be. After being in class where I’m learning how to take care of those who have mental disabilities, it’s was eye opening to see the effects that it has on the whole family and how everyone’s role has to adapt to keep the household running.
After reading this book, it’ll make you appreciate your family no matter how perfect or imperfect it is because The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling shows the value of family even during the most difficult of times when the world seems against you.
This book is a heart tugging book that will truly make you appreciate the small moments of happiness and that these shinning moments can come even during the roughest of times and will definitely a book that I’ll reread in the future!
About the Author:
Wai Chim is a first-generation Chinese-American from New York City. Growing up speaking Cantonese around the house, she absorbed as much Western culture as she could through books, TV, and school. She spent some time living in Japan before making Sydney, Australia, her permanent home. In addition to her writing, Wai works as a digital producer/web developer for The Starlight Children’s Foundation, whose programs offer entertainment, education, and technology to critically, chronically, and terminally ill children. Learn more about her at waichim.com.
Happy reading until next time,