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Everything Asian: A Novel by Sung J. Woo

Everything Asian: A Novel (2009)

by Sung J. Woo

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The focus of this 1980s era story is David Kim's Korean immigrant family who own an Asian imports store in Pedders Town, a downscale mall in New Jersey. In short stories, readers follow the family's ups and downs as well as those of their neighboring store owners. Every character has a compelling background and personality that draw you into the life of this mall community. Poignant, bitter, funny and hopeful. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I wished the writing style would be more advanced that it is. It almost reads like Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus would have written. I always try to find books that teach me and bring me to a higher level. This book sadly fail to do this. The jumping from the view of the buy ( I) and then just a third person telling the story when it was about the sister confused me a lot. I really wanted to like it, but could not get attached. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Aug 4, 2013 |
When he was seven, Dae Joon's father left Korea for America, leaving Dae Joon, his mom, and his older sister In Sook behind. Now he is twelve and they are finally joining their father in New Jersey, where he owns a shop that sells "everything Asian". It should be a joyful reunion, but it's just awkward, especially since Dae Joon doesn't even remember his father.

I really enjoyed this. The POV alternates one chapter in Dae Joon's POV, one in the POV of one of the other characters, who each get one chapter that expands on whatever happened in Dae Joon's previous chapter. It was an interesting way to do things and I thought it worked well. ( )
  kyuuketsukirui | Aug 3, 2010 |
Everything Asian is about a 12-year-old Korean boy, David (Dae Joon) Kim, who settles in New Jersey with his mother and older sister. They are reunited with David's father, who had left Korea five years earlier. Much of the story takes place in the mall where the family's shop is located. Here, David encounters and interacts with the other shopkeepers, some of whom are immigrants like himself. He has to learn how to survive in this new, strange land and at the same time, deal with his parents' struggle to live as a family again.

The book is basically a series of vignettes from David's childhood and reads more like a set of short stories featuring the same characters than a full-length novel. There are a few characters who are featured prominently in a chapter or two and then they disappear for the remainder of the book. As a result, I felt at the end that there were threads left hanging. I expect that the author could develop at least one of the subplots into a full novel of its own.

Unlike many novels about the Asian immigrant experience that I've read, this one isn't filled with sorrow and tragedy. Certainly, there are poignant moments and heavy topics (separation, betrayal, loss), but for the most part, this is a light-hearted, nostalgic look at how a child learns to adapt to living in his new country.

When I first picked up this book, I had thought it was meant for younger readers, as the main character is a 12-year-old boy. However, there is some mature content, so I'd recommend this novel to older teen and adult readers. ( )
2 vote mathgirl40 | Jun 18, 2010 |
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It's my sister on the phone.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312538855, Hardcover)

You're twelve years old. A month has passed since your Korean Air flight landed at lovely Newark Airport. Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable. Your mother isn't exactly happy, either. You're seeing your father for the first time in five years, and although he's nice enough, he might be, well--how can you put this delicately?--a loser.

You can't speak English, but that doesn't stop you from working at East Meets West, your father's gift shop in a strip mall, where everything is new.

Welcome to the wonderful world of David Kim.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:44 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Everything Asian is a coming-of-age story in which David Kim, 12, and his mother and sister emigrate from Korea to the United States where his father lives.

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