Friday, July 25, 2008

Off the Menu-Christine Son

Off the Menu
Christine Son
NAL, Aug 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451224170

A decade ago in high school in Houston, the best friends (Hercules Huang, Whitney Lee and Audrey Henley) encouraged each other to succeed; they did and share valedictorian honors. Over the years the three Asian-Americans remain close friends; meeting once a month to share their latest achievements, their secrets and concerns except for one; none of the trio wants to fail especially in front of their best friends; that fear is so phobic, each rejects their respective dream.

Successful high powered Whitney wants to be a singer; Hercules fears opening a new restaurant; Audrey is frightened that she cannot live up to her adopted parents’ expectations or for that matter that of her friends. They cannot tell the others until that getaway weekend together when each of the late twentyish women reveal their innermost desires only to find their “sisters” encouraging them as they always have done for one another.

The key to this warm contemporary fiction is the three protagonists are different yet similar as each is driven to be perfect” so that their bond seems genuine. Readers will appreciate the support each gives to one another while also accepting the underlying premises that to be human means being imperfect and no matter how close people get to one another there remain hidden aspects. Although there is no action to speak of, fans will enjoy this realistic uplifting character driven sisterhood tale.

Harriet Klausner

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