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Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang

Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir

by Eddie Huang

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I don't believe Eddie Huang and I would get along in real life. He seems too steeped in drugs, too self-righteous, too violent, way too quick to take offense. And not terribly clear sighted: Orlando, back in the 1990s and now, is not, by any stretch, "the South." Granted maybe some of his uber-Christian private schools had more of a Confederate vibe, but other schools he mentioned, no way, and definitely not neighborhoods like Idylwild either. (As he might phrase it, cot damn, son, sometimes you find what you looking for even when it's not really there.)

That said, I found the book to be worth reading, and not just because he named places and people I knew. Huang has interesting observations about racism, about food, about the value of a liberal education. I see where some of his rage comes from, and I now "get" why a rich Asian suburban kid would identify so strongly with Tupac. The writing varies dramatically from street lingo to rhapsodical food descriptions to academic allusions, and the tale leaps from Washington DC to Orlando to Pittsburgh to NYC without much warning. But one thing this memoir isn't is boring. ( )
1 vote iBeth | Mar 5, 2015 |
Not very often am I hooked from the first line, but Eddie Huang did just that. This was definitely the most exciting, enticing, and hilarious memoir I've read this year. Eddie recounts his childhood as an American born Chinese and all the cultural differences between him and "normal" Americans. In this country it can be tough to be different; Eddie recounts the experiences bringing "stinky" Chinese food to school, getting in fights, relating to hip hop, and having to deal with stereotypes. Times were tough in high school and college, but he was an exceptional student so even though he got into a lot of trouble, teachers saw potential in him and helped him as much as they could. Although he finished law school he still wasn't happy; not until he opened up his own restaurant in New York did Eddie feel he made it and felt like a true American, living the dream.

Listening to the audiobook was a real treat, as it was narrated by the author himself. Eddie has a hilarious and yet serious narration of his memoir, plus has the ability to start yelling in Chinese when he's describing his mother (hilarious). This is a great book for everyone. There is stuff for foodies, hip hop aficionados, American minorities, sports fans, memoir junkies and more. Truly a great read! ( )
  ecataldi | Dec 26, 2013 |
Eddie has an interesting story to tell but I can't really relate to the culture. By that I mean the Hip Hop culture not the Chinese culture. He does recount some interesting misadventures but I didn't find it as humorous as I had expected.
I received my copy free in a Goodreads giveaway. ( )
  jwood652 | Sep 28, 2013 |
* Food
* Hip Hop
* Basketball

* The portion on BaoHaus is very short
* There is a definitive narrative style, which you either love or hate (I loved it).

In some ways this reminds me of [b:Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly|33313|Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly|Anthony Bourdain|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348988611s/33313.jpg|4219], which is funny because the time spent in the actual restaurant is the shortest part of the book. But it's the way that Huang talks about food, even from the first few sentences about soup dumplings you get that he loves food. The brash personality also draws Bourdain comparisons.

This memoir is really about the immigrant experience in America -- food is only a part of that. ( )
  ErikaWasTaken | Sep 22, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I got this through Early Reviewers, and I am a horrible person as I completely forgot to post a review! I very much enjoyed this book. He is a really interesting guy. I liked that he talked to you like a person, that you knew what he was referencing and had a shared history of sorts. ( )
  Tmyers526 | Aug 30, 2013 |
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"Can't get paid in a earth this big? You worthless kid." - Cam'ron "Yeah Yeah, I design these things and you know I'm in the hood like chinese wings." - Jadakiss "Don't be afraid, fight for it." - Dad
To Emery, who lived it, and Evan, who built it
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"The soup dumplings are off today!" Grandpa said.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679644881, Hardcover)

“Long before I met him, I was a fan of his writing, and his merciless wit. He’s bigger than food.”—Anthony Bourdain

Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, Eddie wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own.  

Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the all-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity.

Funny, raw, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century. It’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.

Praise for Fresh Off the Boat
“Mercilessly funny and provocative, Fresh Off the Boat is also a serious piece of work—and an important one. Eddie Huang is hunting nothing less than Big Game here—a question, a conversation, an argument: Who are we? If somebody’s going to put a thumb in your eye, it should probably be Eddie Huang. He does everything with style.”—Anthony Bourdain
“Brash, leading-edge, and unapologetically hip, Huang reconfigures the popular foodie memoir into something worthwhile and very memorable.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:27 -0400)

A Taiwanese-American rebel restaurateur chronicles his rise to success from his difficult childhood in the American South to his decision to embrace all he had learned about food in his father's restaurants and his mother's kitchen to create his own culinary identity.… (more)

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