Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang

The Wangs had it all.  Head of a cosmetic empire and living the good life in Los Angeles, Charles Wang had fulfilled all of the dreams he had when he arrived in the United States as an immigrant.  He built an empire and became fabulously wealthy.  There are three children.  Saina, his oldest daughter, is a successful artist, currently taking a break and living in New England.  Andrew is in college and full of dreams.  Gracie is his baby and already has a style blog that is seen by thousands every day.  His second wife, Barbra, is devoted to him.

But it all goes awry.  Determined to expand in a contracting economy, Wang loses his fortune, shaking his belief in his acumen as a businessman.  With all his accounts frozen and the house and cars foreclosed, he loads the family into an old car he had given the nanny decades ago and heads for the refuge of Saina's house.  Along the way, the reader learns that the happy, successful picture the family projected was never anything more than a facade.

Saina is in New England in disgrace; her last show getting so much bad press and feedback that she has fled the New York art scene.  Andrew wants nothing to do with the family fortune; his dream is to be a stand-up comedian.  Gracie feels disconnected from everyone else in the family.  Barbra, who named herself after Streisand when she immigrated, made a decision to come to America and woe and marry Wang when she heard about the accident that killed his first wife.

Together this unlikely family heads cross-country.  As the miles pile up, they start to get reacquainted with each other as individuals and rediscover the family feelings they thought were well behind them.  Charles has one last plan to regain the family's fortune and it may be their biggest adventure yet.

This is a debut novel for Jade Chang.  It has received much praise with authors such as Jami Attenberg writing blurbs praising it.  It is an Amazon Best Book of 2016 and a Barnes and Nobles Fall 2016 Discover Book.  Chang delves into the Chinese-American immigrant experience and uses it to portray the timelessness of family loyalty.  This book is recommended for readers interested in family dynamics and the immigrant experience.

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