Member Reviews

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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This book was a wonderful read. I love Linh and her need to protect her family. Loneliness is a terrible feeling, and reading this book for some reason made me find solace in it. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone looking for a calming, funny, chilled read.

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Linh Ly Is Doing Just Fine is a book with an amazing premise which sounded really interesting and funny, however sadly I really struggled to get into it. Personally, this book was hard to get into. I feel like I wasn't the right audience for this book as I really couldn't relate to the characters or the plot. However I do appreciate how well written this was just not written for me sadly. But I'm so lots of people will love this.

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Oh Linh. Where do I even begin to talk about you?

Let me tell you a little bit of what this book is about. Linh is, by all accounts, not doing fine. Her whole life can be summarized in work and tennis. She has also started following her mom around whenever she goes on dates. You know, like a normal sane person would do.

After Linh´s mom finalized her divorce with Linh´s abusive alcoholic dad, Linh finds herself extremely worried about her mom, and even more when she starts dating. So wherever her mom goes, she goes. She neds to protect her mom, and she´ll do anything she can to keep her safe.

Linh´s thought process was so interesting to read, and honestly, even if she was paranoid, she made sense at times. She grew up with a mother who worked two jobs to try to make ends meet, of course she´s paranoid of rich people. She is a woman of color living in Texas, of course she is paranoid of white people. She is a woman, period. Of course she´s paranoid of men. She made a little too much sense at times. Although, I did expect her to be a little bit crazier by the description of the book.

Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine by Thao Votang | Goodreads
I can understand why this book is not for everyone. Not much happens, the book being full of Linh´s thoughts and feelings. This might not work for a lot of people, but it worked for me, since Linh is a very interesting character. Her whole life is her job, tennis, her mom and her cat. She doesn´t even own a tv to watch on her free time; she literally watches a window. And Thao Votang made that appealing enough for me to keep reading.

Although not much happens, I was keen on Linh from the very first chapter. Like I mentioned, she is just a woman trying to survive in a world that she feels like it´s out to get her. And how could she not feel that? how can we expect her to not be suspicious of men, of white people, of rich people, when she has seen first hand what cruelty they are capable of? She is truly doing what she can.

My love for this book can be attributed to the way the book is written. Her thought process is clear, and you could see at times how much she would isolate, how much she observed, and how quiet she could be. At times, it made me want to scream at her, but like I said, we cannot blame her for how she turned out to be.

My one complaint about this book would be the use of the word “Metroplex”. It was repeated time after time, with no reason as to why.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and getting to know Linh and her world was a pleasure I was not expecting.

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There is something strange afoot with this book. I didn't particularly enjoy it, or more accurately, I can't really say anything especially good about it, but it was still something of a page-turner that I couldn't stop reading.

Linh Ly isn't a very likeable character, she is a strange combination of blasé towards and obsessed with the people in her life and I find myself very annoyed at her more often than not. I do feel for her as it becomes more and more apparent that she has had a traumatized childhood with an aggressive alcoholic father, which has led to some strange behaviours and coping mechanisms in her adult life, but it isn't enough to cover the feeling I have of being just a little relieved that I do not have to "hang out" with her more now that I've finished the book.

It isn't a very close likeness, but it reminded me a little of Ottessa Moshfegh's "My Year of Rest and Relaxation", albeit a slightly toned down version, and since I didn't much care for that one either it isn't doing this book any favours...

I do not know what to make of this. I do not like Linh Ly and I didn't get what the point of the book was. Still a recommendation from me - go figure..!

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Truly a beautiful book with a main character you will fall in love with. Engaging, well written and un-put-downable.

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Personally, this book was hard to get into. Only some scenes would catch my attention. This book started to grow on me near the end, and then I was confused about the ending. I felt like the book ended abruptly, and didn't really feel like it had a thought-out resolution. I feel like the book was missing something, and although I am in a very similar situation (which is what drew me to the book), I felt like it was difficult to relate to Linh and her actions.

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I found this book hard to rate/review. It is definitely not for everyone. There were a lot of moments that made me laugh because they were either completely absurd or very relatable. The main character is not very likable which normally I really enjoy but I felt like her journey throughout the story wasn't really captivating. However, I think that was kind of the point. Thao Votang wrote how she conceived this story during the Covid pandemic. I think during this time a lot of people could relate to the feeling of wanting to get out there and live their life. I felt like Linh was representative of this sort of stagnant state. She was trapped in this cycle of preoccupation with anyone but herself and her own happiness, not able to move on. Overall, I found this book inspirational in an odd way because it made me reflect on my relationships with others and how I live my life.

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Linh Ly is doing just fine reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine vibes. the story is quite similar.

I get that this book is not for everyone. There are many things that can turn off the reading experience like mention of metroplex very often and weird eccentric behaviour of Linh, also her asking questions to her readers after every passage. But frankly I could see where Linh is coming from.

An abusive father, a mother who's trying to make ends meet by doing two jobs. A child scared and alone in the house everyday while her parents were working. An inattentive alcoholic father who would not care for his daughter and a caring mother yet who chose to stay out of the house coz of her husband. Young girl left to fend off after the needs to the father who did not even speak two sentences of love. Do you really expect the girl will be normal??

Of course she has no life apart from her job and her tennis practice. She believes the whole world out there is to get to her in someway or another. She has experienced racism first hand, a Vietnamese trying to make her space in white supremist world. She is what she is and she is doing just fine given the circumstances of her situation.

She has no one in the world apart from her mom so frankly even though her stalking behaviour annoyed hell out of me, yet part of me could understand where was it coming from. This even kept her sane in the world full of insanity and people who looks down upon you. And that is why she couldn't understand if someone treated her nice or said things like I missed you. Because why will anyone even love her when her own parents did not.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it kept me interested in what is going to happen next in the book. Linh was struggling it was clear. But she would definitely be okay in the end.

Thank you Netgalley and Alcove press for this wonderful ARC in exchange of an honest review.

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"The headstone was carved with his name and dates. No epitaph. What would I say that wasn't a lie? He wasn't a good husband. He wasn't a good father. His life was destroyed by imperialism and war"
~ Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine


"Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine" unfolds a nuanced narrative that delves into the philosophy of loneliness. The emotional architecture of the protagonist is delivered with a precise monotonous cadence and unvarnished honesty. Notably, there is an absence of a structured plotline—a deliberate choice that may not appeal to all readers but significantly contributes to the authenticity of the work. The story adopts a gentle approach to address emotional wounds while cleverly interjecting racial and political biases. Despite the absence of extravagant emotional dispositions, the protagonist's deadpan sense of humour beautifully illuminates the pensive intricacies of emotional vulnerability. While the compositional choice of "Linh Ly is Doing Just Fine" may not cater to everyone, it's clear that the novel is targeted towards a specific demographic, appreciative of the decelerated pacing and contemplative atmosphere.

Thank you NetGalley and Alcove Press for the arc.

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Really good! I liked the pace of this novel and loved the cover. This was an interesting book about mother-daughter relationship and how mothers have lives, too.

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DNF @ 33%.

What the cover, title, and even description of this book explained wasn't what I got as a reader. I was looking for something that was humorous misadventures, and this was some heavy stuff. I especially struggled with the school shooting chapter. I felt the trauma of this would be so much more than how it was given, and it was hard for me to then shift to her mom's dating life. I did find some great lines as Linh Ly was trying to find her place, but ultimately, this was a case of misaligned expectations and reality.

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Linh is a 29 year old Vietnamese American girl living in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, USA.
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.

The book mentions “metroplex” a lot. I don’t really get how that is different from a big city, or why it keeps getting repeated.
I’m not quite sure what this book is trying to be or going for. Besides the paranoia Linh lives with, the book is quite mundane. Not that much happens and the characters could have been more fleshed out. At times it verges on horror or a thriller, but not quite.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

TW: Death, stalking, paranoia, guns, shooting

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