Title: My Summer of Love and Misfortune
Author: Lindsay Wong
Read by: Nancy Wu
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 11 hours and 21 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster Audio. Thank-you!
What was the last novel that you read that made you laugh? My Summer of Love and Misfortune was a delightful audiobook that I looked forward to listening to every day.
Iris Wang is not having a good senior year. She wants to spend her time shopping and smoking weed with her boyfriend, and she is shocked when this leads to failing her senior year and not being accepted into any colleges. She also loses her boyfriend to her best friend and life looks pretty bleak. Through it all, Iris is not sure why these things are happening to her and fails to see that she has put in zero effort in even learning the basics about her best friend and boyfriend.
Her parents ship her off to stay with her Uncle and his family in Beijing to learn how to speak Chinese and to learn proper Chinese behavior. She had never heard of them before as he was her father’s illegitimate half brother and her father doesn’t really talk about his family. She is very upset about being shipped off, but when she arrives in Beijing, she discovers that her Uncle and his family are very wealthy. She tries to befriend her cousin Ruby, and she starts to find out family secrets. What was her father trying to hide? Will Iris ever think of anyone besides herself?
I thought it was interesting when Iris thinks about how everyone sees her outside and makes assumptions about her. In China, everyone is shocked and dismayed that she looks Chinese, but can’t speak Chinese and knows nothing about the culture. On the inside, she is American. In America, she looks Chinese and everyone assumes that she should be intellectual, hardworking, and smart getting into the best schools. In reality, Iris could care less about school. Iris slowly learns through the novel how to accept herself for who she is, and her family learns about acceptance as well. It was interesting when Iris learns that her father was a lot like her growing up in China.
My Summer of Love and Misfortune reminded me of the Shopaholic books if they were centered on a Chinese American girl. I also enjoyed the humor of the Shopaholic series. This novel was Shopaholic meets Crazy Rich Asian. Like Becky from the Shopaholic series, Iris is always trying to rationalize her bad behavior and overspending. Unlike Becky, she does seem very selfish and doesn’t seem to care about anyone besides herself. Luckily, at the end of the novel, Iris is able to learn to care about others and to see that she has had a pretty lucky life.
Narrator Nancy Wu was Iris to me. I loved her voice and narration.
Overall, My Summer of Love and Misfortune is an entertaining audiobook.