Cover Image: Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine

Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley, Alcove Press, and author Thao Votang for providing an ARC in exchange for a review! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s difficult to express my thoughts regarding this book. I could relate to Linh in many aspects (because being a woman in your 20s is terrifying!), but at the same time, I couldn’t really engage with the story. It is, however, a perfect blend of funny and sad.

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Man, could I relate to Linh in this book! Votang does such a great job throughout this book capturing what an anxious mind thinks about and the lengths they will go for some semblance of peace. I also liked how realistic the book was, even though it was frustrating to not find out whether Linh chooses Chandler or not. In real life, stories are not neat and mistakes are everywhere, and this book reflects that and honors it. Full of humor and reflections on the intersection of social justice and wealth, I very much enjoyed my time in Linh Ly’s mind and life.

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I found this journey of one woman's anxiety and coping mechanisms to be interesting enough to keep reading. The reader really gets inside Linh's thought processes and gets taken along for the ride. I don't need all my books to be neat and tidy at the end, but I was hoping for a little more at the conclusion to this tale.

I received this arc from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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god, i’m so tired of never clicking with books that are labelled as funny and/or quirky anymore. i don’t know why, but i didn’t get this book at all – i wish i had enjoyed it more, but i found the main character a little grating and her relationship with her mother was just . . . well, absurd.

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"Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine" by Thao Votang is a debut novel that combines deadpan humor and brutal honesty to explore the unraveling of Vietnamese-American Linh Ly. The story revolves around Linh's efforts to ensure that her recently-divorced mother's new boyfriend is worthy. Linh's childhood was marked by the struggles of her mother, who worked tirelessly to support the family while dealing with an unreliable and volatile alcoholic father.

As Linh becomes obsessed with monitoring her mother's dating life, the narrative delves into her own struggles. The story takes a poignant turn when Linh experiences a traumatic event—a university shooting at her workplace. This event leaves her feeling adrift, and her focus on her mother's dating life becomes a way for her to cope and find some semblance of control.

Set against the backdrop of Linh's Vietnamese-American identity and her upbringing in the middle of Texas, the novel explores themes of family, cultural identity, and the impact of a broken household on an individual's psyche. Linh's journey becomes a reflection of the challenges of adulthood, with the narrative capturing the complexities of relationships, self-discovery, and the search for meaning.

"Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine" is described as moving, insightful, and caustically funny, offering readers a deep dive into the quarter-life crisis experienced by the protagonist. The novel promises relatable prose that explores the nuances of life and identity.

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Thanks to NetGalley, the author Thai Votang and the publisher for the opportunity to read this novel. It’s difficult to describe the life of the main character even though she leads a very simple life. I enjoyed the times she ventured out of her insular world to interact with others in social situations outside her realm, I struggled with her relationship with her parents but by the ending I was hopeful about her future with her mother and possibly other friends.

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I loved this book at the start - it had real promise and then my enthusiasm wanes as it started to become apparent that this story wasn’t going anywhere. Linh is a classic autistic protagonist except with extra anxiety and weird mom issues. She’s also ultra paranoid about race and is very judgy. There was no reason on earth why all her friends want to be around her but they did. She didn’t reciprocate and was aloof to the point that it seemed like she was too cut off from society to ever get back in.

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Thank you for this ARC! I was super excited to get it!

This book managed to perfectly blend sadness and humor together in the most confounding way. Linh was brutally hilarious in the most deadpan, half life sort of way that just made you sad... after the laugher had subsided. It truly felt like Linh was barely alive, even as she was spiraling it was hard to truly see how bad she was spiraling because she herself couldn't really tell.

I won't lie, Linh scared the hell out of me. Like girly... you're freaking us out. Have you considered intensive therapy? I respect her deeply for staying true to her deeply depressing and very intense self but DAMN GIRL, you have problems!! Her parental issues were out of control in a way I just couldn't fathom and it was very easy to see how Linh got to the way she is now. And I liked the offhanded yet subversive comments about racism that Linh would make - usually I don't like that but I found that Votang did it really well.

Overall, sad yet weirdly funny book. I think Votang did a really good job of writing a pretty unreliable narrator who appears to have it all together and yet, under that thin veneer of success, there's just a parade of insanity that you just can't help but gawk at.

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