Number One Chinese Restaurant

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

Chinese food and family drama? Seriously, sign me up. I absolutely loved the food descriptions and immediately set out to eat all the Chinese takeout I could muster (sorry, waistline, it was nice knowing you), however, I did find the family dynamics to be a bit slower paced. Overall, the positives outweighed here for me and I’ll be eager to read more from Lillian Li in the future.
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I could not get interested in this book. Though I tried a few times to start reading it and the description was a topic that really interested me I could not connect with the book and subsequently put it down.

I do feel bad not finishing it and being able to give a good review for this novel.  I also am sorry that I did not keep reading so that I could at least give a detailed explanation for why I did not enjoy it.
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This story is written in such a complex way, which is maybe reflective or true human relationships; but it made following and engaging much more difficult than it had to be.
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I am sorry for not reviewing fully but I don’t have the time to read this at the moment. I believe that it wouldn't benefit you as a publisher or your book if I only skimmed it and wrote a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for not fully reviewing!
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It took me such a long time to finish this book! There was nothing terribly wrong with it, but it was not memorable. My biggest issue is that there are too many characters in the book and most of them were underdeveloped so that they came across as caricature or stereotypes. The story mainly centers around a family that owns a Chinese restaurant that succumbs to fire. Unfortunately, the authors tries a little too hard to jazz it up instead of dealing with the intricate family dynamics more deftly.
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I think I thought this book would have more humor to it than it did. I’m not sure where that expectation came from but I was wrong. However it WAS a very interesting character that was fascinating, watching these people clamber to do what is best for them.
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I was very excited about this author and this book, but I don’t think the latter does the former much justice. The book felt rushed, as if it wasn’t ready to be a novel, and the characters veered towards cartoonish. I would look for more from this author based on recommendations of readers I respect, but this book fell flat.
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3.5 Stars

It’s taken me a while to write this review because although I thought the book was well written and perceptive, it was also painful to read.

Characters struggle with addiction, toxic family members, ungrateful children and unrequited love. It’s hard to get through so many misunderstandings, unspoken emotions, and unfulfilled dreams.  

The strong point with this one is it’s well drawn characters and their true to life emotional reactions. 

Although I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I would have liked, in this case, this is totally on me as it’s beautifully written.

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for a copy of the book.
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Number One Chinese Restaurant really made me laugh over all the antics. I'm really glad to see more Asian representation in Western pop literature.
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The novel had an intriguing description and plot, but I couldn't bring myself to emphasize or care about any of the characters. The pacing seemed to slow down, as opposed to building up, and I found I no longer cared to see how the plot developed.
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I love a good story of a family at war, and this novel provides several characters who are willing to do anything it takes to achieve their own personal goals. Although it's hard to really root for anyone, Li does do a great job describing the motivations of the members of the Han family who run a well-respected and popular Chinese restaurant. As ambitions and greed take over, they soon see all of their hard work decimated. I enjoyed the inside look at immigrants trying to tackle the American dream, but there wasn't a lot of suspense to keep me inherently interested the whole time. I would probably give Li's future works another look through.
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The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Md., was the vision of Chinese immigrants Bobby Han and his wife, Feng Fei Wang. Though uprooted from a vastly different culture than the one in which they landed, they found success through fierce dedication and hard work.
After Bobby’s death, his son Jimmy becomes the restaurant’s owner. On the surface, all flows smoothly.
But when two teenage employees, children of Chinese immigrants with a vested interest in the Duck House, act on their abhorrence of the restaurant’s demands, their tragic choice irrevocably changes the lives of all those connected to the enterprise.
In this intriguing, culturally sensitive novel for adults, which contains some vulgar language and several sexually explicit scenes, author Lillian Li explores the ramifications of immigration; the cost to relationships when work, for whatever reason, takes precedence over spending time with family; and the length to which parents will go to save their children from self-inflicted ruin. Li’s characters are remarkably well-drawn, and her complex plot reveals layer upon layer of reasons for the characters' actions.
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A frustrating novel that leans too much on drama for a story that was apparently attempting to create a nuanced picture of a multi-generational family and their restaurant. The plot was at once too fast while also consistently letting down readers as it built towards an ultimately unsatisfactory ending. While there were moments that shined, the good was buried underneath the undeniable bland that defined the narrative overall.
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The Han's own The Duck House restaurant in Rockville, Maryland. The Duck House is a Chinese restaurant that has been a staple in the community for decades. Most of the employees have worked there since the beginning. Jimmy Han is not happy running his father's restaurant, though. He's ready to step out on his own.   So when a fire destroys The Duck House, he sees this as a perfect opportunity to go through with his plan. But, will the cause of the fire, prevent Jimmy from doing what he wants to do? 

Thank you to Henry Holt and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

I was really interested to read this book since it is based where I currently live. Books that are local to my area, always have me intrigued before even opening them up. But this one fell flat for me. I didn't really care what happened. There really wasn't too much excitement in the book beyond the fire. I did finish the book because I had to see if there was going to be something more that was going to happen. Unfortunately, it never did. 

The basis of this book was the people in the relationship.  Although there were several main characters, I can't say that I really got to know any of these characters in a way that made me want to know more about them.  All of the characters are seriously flawed and they don't contribute much to the overall book.  I wanted to enjoy this book, but I couldn't find anything to keep me connected.
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This book was just kind of meh for me. It's a novel set primarily at a Chinese restaurant, shifting perspectives from various people who work there. The writing was not bad (though sometimes the perspectives shifted so quickly in the same chapter that it was confusing), it's just that there were so many characters, they were all kind of unlikable, and none of them really changed during the course of the story. Definitely the kind of book that I kept reading just to finish it since I have a stubborn inclination to finish every book I start.
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Reminded me of Last Night at the Lobster.  A behind the scenes story of a family owned business and the employees that work there.  Very good.
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A mouthwatering, heartwarming read about food, family, and friends. Lillian LI will be known as an up and coming  literacy tour de force.
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*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for a fair and unbiased review. 
I have to be honest, I couldn't finish this one. I found the characters unlikable, and it just did not hod my interest.
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I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t get into it. I might give it another chance soon, at which time I will revise my review.

The characters seemed like flat stereotypes. There was nothing to hook me at the beginning. 

The premise did seem intriguing, but this book just failed to captivate me. 

I did appreciate the multigenerational characters, and the various family dramas seemed believable. 

Thank you to Net Galley for the galley to review, and Henry Holt and Co. for the free book.
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I wanted to read this book so I would know if I would recommend it to my Chinese students who need to read in English. I think it is GREAT! Th,
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