Cover Image: Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine

Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine

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Member Reviews

A quick and easy read, Linh Ly Is Doing Just Fine follows Linh who is definitely not fine.

I found the character of Linh to be a bit difficult to connect with, and although the ending ended with a positive note I didn't get much character development from Linh.

I think many areas of the story could have been developed more. The relationship aspect almost felt like a filler, especially because we did not get a lot of context nor much growth. I felt that the Christmas scene with her mother and her mothers 'boyfriend' could have been expanded and really helped us see into Linhs character and her feelings of isolation and difference.

The constant use of 'metroplex' was also a bit distracting throughout the novel, as it was repeated over and over.

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This book is a quick read with short chapters. Overall a good story, but I felt confused in some places. I also wished the characters had been explored a little bit more.

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Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine" by Thao Votang is a delightful and heartwarming novel that resonates with authenticity and charm. Votang's storytelling prowess shines as she navigates the complexities of life through the lens of her endearing protagonist, Linh Ly. With empathy and humor, Votang paints a vivid portrait of resilience, friendship, and self-discovery. The characters leap off the page with their relatable quirks and genuine emotions, making it easy for readers to become fully immersed in their lives. From its captivating storyline to its poignant moments of reflection, "Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine" is a captivating journey that leaves a lasting impression. Votang's debut novel is a true gem that celebrates the beauty of human connection and the strength found in embracing life's challenges.

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I found it really hard to get myself invested in the story and I found myself skipping through pages to get to the parts of the story that half interested me. I think it will find its audience with some readers but trying to hard to be the next Yellowface.

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Linh's parents have recently divorced, and her mother is dating again. As her father is an (verbally) abusive alcoholic, Linh is quite protective of her mother, and follows her and her dates around to make sure she is safe at the end of the date. Her own life is uneventful; she plays tennis, she works at the university and she is quite secluded. But then things happen that shake up her world...

An easy and quick read, the writing style is fast-paced, dry-humoured and the chapters are short. I flew through this and enjoyed the experience. Linh's overly worried character as a result of a trauma-filled childhood - her own and her mother's - and the stalker-y behavior to keep her mother safe, were funny and endearing.

I see where the author wanted to go with Linh, but it didn't really work for me. Anxious, introverted and a bit obsessed, Linh seems to be the quarterly-life crisis girlie that I am too (we are the same age), but it felt like Linh didn't have enough depth too really feel like a human. A humanoid maybe. I also felt like she hinted at Linh being on the spectrum.

I would have loved loved LOVED the book if the storylines with all the characters had been explored more. The interactions with Chandler were interesting, but for reasons I don't understand we only see them sleep together a few times, then Linh completely ignores him and Chandler is still very interested in her for some reason? I thought he could have been the steamy, a bit more frequent distraction for Linh, but unfortunately we only get glimpses of him.

And I also feel that way about some major events in the book; the school shooting, the car accident, the Christmas party and New Years Day wedding all felt like they were ideas that weren't fully thought out or explored by the author. I would have liked the book more, had it been 100-150 longer.

All in all, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loved I'm Sorry You Feel That Way and The Existence of Amy, or who just wants a quick, light read!

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Even though I did enjoy the first 3 chapters (getting to know the protagonist's background and her relationship with her mother, recently divorced from her father), I realised I didn't care for anything else that was going on.
I didn't care for our protagonist's job or her tennis lessons/matches or her friends.
I have absolutely nothing bad to speak about this story. I usually like character-driven stories, but I just couldn't relate or care for the protagonist of this one in particular.
I'm sure this book will please much more other readers.
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing me with a free ARC of this book.

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Linh is a hardcore introvert who enjoys her routines and alone time. On the outside, she seems fairly well-adjusted, but there are many things she still struggles with, such as letting her mother date without worrying about her safety and the trauma from her abusive father. Her go-to method for dealing with situations is lurking and spying, going to great lengths to disguise herself. She has issues with her self-esteem and often questions when other people seem interested in spending time with her by purposely distancing herself even when people make their interest known. She often suspects she is only wanted because she adds diversity to the group.

Linh is a fascinating character and relatable to me in certain ways. But she does make numerous questionable decisions such as voluntarily getting into a fender bender throughout the book that didn't really seem to make sense. This is certainly a character-driven book, and there was a long stretch where the pacing was quite slow, and I could not ascertain where the author was trying to take us in the narrative. I really would have appreciated a different perspective, maybe from Linh's mother or father, detailing the story of their marriage, their lives in Vietnam, and what led them to this point.

I was intrigued in the beginning, but the excessive negative self-talk and self-sabotaging behavior, prosaic characters, and weak dialogue did not keep my interest and I had to force myself to finish the book. The resolution was also extremely abrupt and implausible and tacked onto the story in the last chapter.

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Linh Ly is a character that is hard to figure out. She seems to coast through life in Texas working and playing tennis and sometimes meeting up with her one close friend. She doesn't seem particularly passionate about anything, except in the aftermath of her parents' divorce, she grows obsessive about her mother's dating life. She grew up with a mean dad with a drinking problem, and she is protective of her mother now that she can live her life on her own terms. As Linh tails her mother on dates, there are glimpses of the experience and traumas that may be playing into her behavior. At one point, a rich and handsome guy she went to high school with reappears in her life, and the story seems to suggest it might take a turn towards romance, but it doesn't really. In fact, I am still unclear as to what the purpose of this was. The various threads remained disconnected or only subtly connected so that I was left feeling like the story was incomplete.

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La mère de Linh a rendez-vous avec un collègue. Elle qui s’est mariée jeune, qui a quitté le Vietnam pour les États-Unis, vient de divorcer du monstre qui lui sert de mari et décide de fréquenter (comme on disait dans le Nord). Linh est persuadée que sa mère ne peut pas se débrouiller seule, qu’elle risque de tomber sur des types louches. Elle va donc surveiller sa mère, la suivre partout, et faire des recherches sur les hommes (et leur famille) avec qui elle sort. Cela tourne vite à l’obsession et Linh consacre tout son temps à ses enquêtes. Elle a beaucoup de temps à elle : son seul loisir, c’est le tennis auquel elle joue avec des filles de familles riches. Elle travaille de chez elle pour l’université, elle est pratiquement asociale : elle a une amie proche et sort de temps en temps avec les filles du tennis. Et elle retrouve le garçon pour qui elle craquait quand elle était au lycée : le garçon riche dont toutes les filles de la ville étaient/sont amoureuses, celui qui était dans l’équipe de tennis du lycée et ne lui avait adressé que deux mots en tout et pour tout à l'époque.

Dans l’ensemble, j’ai beaucoup aimé ce roman. J’ai eu un peu peur qu’il s’agisse d’une romance urbaine, mais heureusement, ce n’est pas du tout le type de l’héroïne. Quand un personnage la compare à Daria, j’ai trouvé l’analogie très juste (l’esprit de compétition en plus). Personne ne trouve grâce à ses yeux et tout y passe : ses collègues, ses « copines » de tennis, les filles riches qui tournent autour de Chandler (le garçon riche), le racisme (j’ai lu ce livre après White Women de Regina Jackson et Saira Rao, et ça faisait un peu froid dans le dos). Au début, j’ai trouvé un peu ridicule et énervant le fait qu’elle suive sa mère. Et puis, j’ai trouvé de nombreuses situations très drôles et l’héroïne, impayable. Bon, j’aurais pu me passer du terme metroplex (qui désigne la conurbation Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington) qui est répété un peu trop souvent dans le roman (j’en avais même oublié où se déroulait l’action). Des fois, un rien vous agace. Certains délires de Linh sont un peu exagérés : son attitude vis-à-vis de Chandler est un peu limite (mais peut-être est-il trop parfait). Mais l’ensemble se tient. Et la couverture, c’est tout à fait ça.

Oui, je recommande.

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I loved the premise and was excited to read the book. I found parts of it to be a bit confusing, especially towards the end. The pacing was a bit slow at times and felt like the book could have used a bit more editing. Overall, I enjoyed the story and writing.

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I quite liked this book, but I can't say exactly why. The main character Linh has a lot of problems and spends her time stalking her mum when she on dates to ensure she is safe.

As a character she isn't particularly likeable, but it's because she needs to sort out her head regarding her confidence, trust issues and problems with her dad.

it's really a growth book, as we are looking at how her character develops throughout the duration of the story - other than that there isn't much plot.

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3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book while reading it, but didn't think about it much when I wasn't in the story. I found her obsessing over the man her mother was dating to be a bit off mark for me and I was yelling at her during this time like what are you doing Linh, but then again I understand she's trying to protect her mother in a predominately white area. It just got to the obsessive point. She is absolutely not doing fine in life and I enjoyed while reading and would recommend to others. There are some trigger warnings when going into this book though especially with school shootings and alcoholism.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book, feedback is entirely my own opinion.

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I absolutely loved reading Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine. Linh Ly was such a likeable and complex character to me, it was so easy to read this novel in just one sitting and absorb myself in her world (NB: I did start it at the end of Jan but then ended up restarting it today to read in one sitting). There was a level of relatability for me as a Vietnamese-Australian young woman, I loved seeing parts of myself in Linh.

Linh was funny, fiercely protective, and intense. On one hand, I found it really entertaining to read about Linh’s escapades - following her Mum/Dad around, her encounters with Chandler - yet on the other hand, I was so interested in knowing more about her inner world and her decisions. The ending was really heartwarming, I loved that she was able to let her Mum ‘in’ as well as starting a relationship with Aurelia.

I will be recommending this book to everyone! I know for a fact that I’ll be picking it up when it’s available in print, and re-reading it as soon as I can.

However, I could see some people disliking this novel as it is more character-driven than plot-driven, and doesn’t necessarily have a clear ‘happy ending’. I also think that some might might be unhappy with the love story with Linh and Chandler being unresolved.

Thank you to Netgalley and Alcove Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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With its deadpan humour, I really enjoyed this one! I was curious to see where the protagonist would end up in life or if she would make any changes to her somewhat stagnant lifestyle.

Feeling stuck in life, with no friends and no real effort to connect with anyone — linh becomes obsessed with her newly divorced mum’s dating life. To the extent of stalking her dates.

I felt like this book had two plots and wasn’t sure what it was trying to do, but ultimately it ended up being a pretty fun read.

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I enjoyed this one, I’m not sure the structure would appeal to everyone but I enjoy a meandering pace when done right. This was a gentle book with lots of insights into loneliness, but humour was used effectively to balance the tone. Good writing is always important and that was delivered here, although part of the story felt like they’d been done before. I’d read more from the author though.

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3/5

Linh Ly is doing just fine. It's not like there's been any sudden changes in her life, like say her mother's divorce from her abusive alcoholic father, that make her feel a deep loss of control. Suddenly concerned and paranoid that something awful could befall her newly single mother, especially now that she's reentering the dating world, Linh begins to stalk and spy on her. When a shooting at the university where she works at reafirms her beliefs, that the world is dangerous and out foor blood, her life slowly unravels in slow motion, making Linh face everything she is.

The idea is there, that little spark that makes this book diferent, but the execution needed something extra. It should have gone farther or picked a lane. What drew me into this book was the mother-daughter relationship and it didn't deliver on that promise. The author did not manage to show me the bond between the two of them nor advance anything in their relationship. I wish the book had dug deeper into the conflict originating from the divorce. How the mother was now free to discover herself and enjoy life while Linh was still stuck in her ways, in survivor mode, partially due to how she was raised. That would have been an interesting thread to unravel and confront. This book was too ambitious, it wanted to tackle family relationships, the trauma of immigration, racism, classism, even gun control in America, and it ended up stretching itself too thin.

The talent and the effort is there, the prose in this is firm and easy to read without sacrificing style. I did like Linh, she was relatable even in the midst of her downward spiral. While the relationships needed more work the characters themselves were good, they felt human enough.

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She is absolutely not doing just fine.
She is an introvert who mainly works (in marketing for a university) and plays tennis. She is very introverted and seems socially awkward, perhaps due to being on the spectrum. She often checks herself is she is joining in just enough, and mirroring people she talks to. She is pretty cold and distant.
Her mother is finally divorced from an abusive spouse, and Linh is worried about her.
Great read, would totally recommend to people who like the idea of american psycho but obviously without the killing spree.

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An intimate and empathetic exploration of what it is like being a young woman of color in Today's America. This was a gorgeously told story about Linh, a woman living in Texas, navigating the ruptures of her family and dealing with her newfound obsession with her mother's dating life. I loved how this book explored family trauma and finding ourselves and a path of our own, when life hasn't been easy or kind to us.

This book is ideal for those who like intimate, literary narratives that consider the world around them. Linh’s unique spirit will stay with you long after you finish.

Perfect for readers of The Year of Rest and Relaxation, Convenience Store Woman and Eleanor Oliphant.

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This was hard to get through - not because of the subject matter, but because of the narrator. The autistic Asian narrator is becoming tired, and the book lacks both plot and insightful commentary about the themes it tries to tackle (domestic abuse, childhood trauma, isolation).

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I felt like the author was so skilled at telling us how Linh Ly felt isolated in Texas that the whole book almost felt isolating. I do enjoy a book about loneliness and alienation but I didn't feel like there as much depth as I would have expected. It was fine. But Linh was a little too unreliable of a narrator for me.

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