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Soy Sauce for Beginners #2020

Soy Sauce for Beginners Gretchen Lin adrift at the age of thirty leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face to face with the twin hea

  • Title: Soy Sauce for Beginners
  • Author: Kirstin Chen
  • ISBN: 9780544114395
  • Page: 109
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Soy Sauce for Beginners By Kirstin Chen, Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face to face with the twin headaches she s avoided her entire adult life her mother s drinking problem and the machinations of her father s artisanal soy sauce business Surrounded by family, Gretchen strGretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face to face with the twin headaches she s avoided her entire adult life her mother s drinking problem and the machinations of her father s artisanal soy sauce business Surrounded by family, Gretchen struggles with the tension between personal ambition and filial duty, but still finds time to explore a new romance with the son of a client, an attractive man of few words When an old American friend comes to town, the two of them are pulled into the controversy surrounding Gretchen s cousin, the only male grandchild and the heir apparent to Lin s Soy Sauce In the midst of increasing pressure from her father to remain permanently in Singapore and pressure from her mother to do just the opposite Gretchen must decide whether she will return to her marriage and her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, or sacrifice everything and join her family s crusade to spread artisanal soy sauce to the world.Soy Sauce for Beginners reveals the triumphs and sacrifices that shape one woman s search for a place to call home, and the unexpected art and tradition behind the brewing of a much used but unsung condiment The result is a foodie love story that will give readers a hearty appreciation for family loyalty and fresh starts.

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    1 thought on “Soy Sauce for Beginners

    1. Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell says:

      Instagram Twitter Facebook PinterestI bought this book without reading the summary because at the time it was on sale for 1.99 down from 4.99 Later, when I was trying to decide which Kindle book I wanted to read next, I really took a look at the summary and my heart sank a little when I saw that it was gasp, cringe women s fiction To my surprise, I actually really enjoyed SOY SAUCE FOR BEGINNERS Part of that is the heroine herself I wasn t sure how well I d be able to relate to a Singaporean wom [...]

    2. I bought this book for cheap on , fairly suspicious that this would end up being chick lit, and my suspicions really were fair.Let s just say it would take very little work to turn this into a Lifetime movie There s a little depth than that, but it s slight enough to be edited out Our main character s really kind of a spoiled bitch, with Parents Issues, but none of that is explored enough to be something to make you go hmm The soy sauce angle is thankfully relevant but slight I craved Chinese f [...]

    3. As a dude who doesn t think this is chick lit, I loved the book Just like me, it s half eastern and half western, with the other half lost in music school somewhere I didn t go to the SF Conservatory, but I think I still might have the key to the practice rooms at the university where I did go, even though that was 16 years ago, and not too far away In that sense, I feel like I know Gretchen, the protagonist She has no idea what she wants in life, stuck between her eastern half and her western h [...]

    4. This book was a disappointment overall In both fiction and film, I most enjoy works in which I can connect strongly to the characters I simply could not do that with this novel The protagonist, Gretchen, is too weak, in her decisions about her marriage, her career, her parents, her new relationship, etc I felt she was a poorly developed character I also believed the text suffered from editing There was a fine concept there However, as a Creative Writing instructor, I would have handed this back [...]

    5. This was my Prime memberships free book choice and I have to say, it was a good one This is Kirstin Chen s debut novel and I look forward to reading from this author in the future.Gretchen Lin is at what I call the second coming of age point in your life age 30 A native Singaporean, Gretchen has spent a large part of her life in the US, through boarding school, college, graduate school and married life Now she returns home for some breathing room from her troubled marriage and career plans Howe [...]

    6. I couldn t put it down It felt like I was reading someone s journal If you have ever experienced moving away and then coming back home, you would certainly identify with Gretchen s story I love how the author weaved in the intricacies of making good soy sauce She didn t just write a beautiful story, she made me care about what happened to each character Pick this book up, you won t be disappointed

    7. I actually really loved this, and I was surprised to see other reviews disparaging it in such a harsh way It s a novel about a woman at 30 who s getting divorced, and goes home to Singapore temporarily to see her family and get herself together She has to put up with a lot of jerks, almost all of whom are men This is most definitely not a love story, which I thought was a major plus If anything, the strongest relationships are between Gretchen and her mother and with her best friend.It s a sweet [...]

    8. I accidentally pushed a button on the Itouch and next thing I knew I d ordered this pre release Figure I might as well read it, maybe it was serendipity.

    9. To be a debut novel, this one has it s strengths, but there are also many weaknesses.The protagonist in the story is not a likable person She has no self esteem, but seems to be shocked when people do not regard her It s contradictory and frustrating Only toward the end of the novel does she become a tolerable character after completely changing all facets of her needy, whiny personality.The story would be moving along strongly before pausing for a flashback or anecdote Some of the flashbacks wo [...]

    10. This book is a quick read It is easy to follow and understand It is the struggle of a family business and it s choices of how to remain successful and carry on This is the coming of age story of Gretchen who must make big decisions in her life about what she really wants to do both in her personal and professional life She has to find her way and embrace who she is There is also a little thread of a love story woven in The book is full of information about soy sauce There is also elements of the [...]

    11. platypire j hooligan sI picked this as one of my monthly choices as a Prime member last December, and I decided to finally give it a go when I saw it was a Whispersync option on KU Knowing that I can press play on a book I m reading when I m busy cleaning or driving is a fabulous thing, especially because I hate stopping a good book Before I get into the review of the book, I want to say that I felt Nancy Wu did a wonderful job as a narrator, and I plan on listening to of her work seriously, I [...]

    12. I felt I was reading a journal, as if this was the author s memoir So begins the story of Gretch who is in a transition in her life after being faced with deceit and betrayal Many note the rich Asian symbolism Funny on the rich asian part as, for example, I don t feel rich at all it s our parents and ancestors legacy we just happen to be inheriting I can t help but reminisce on how the parents throw out the name of the Uni their son daughter attend attending attended There s the typical piano le [...]

    13. An excellent story containing all the rich symbolism I enjoy Gretchen is a music student but the metronome appears so many times that surely it is a metaphor for her chaotic life to slow down her mother s illness, to speed up time to get away from family and to reverse time back to when her marriage was whole Chen s two sentences describe the major theme I reached over to my nightstand, turned my metronome to forty, the slowest setting, and counted the steady clicks Once the needle got going, al [...]

    14. Meh It s been a while since I so sincerely despised the narrator protagonist in a novel The only consolation was that the happily ever after didn t include her finding her worth through being in a relationship That and the desire to taste the legitimate soy sauce Yay.

    15. I bought the book as part of First and also because I thought it would be interesting I tried for than a month to read it, but it was hard It s hard to relate to a a character in a privileged disposition in life only to whine and ramble about life and a marriage that has crumbled Gretchen s father owns a soy sauce company in Singapore and she comes home from California after her marriage crumbled and when she learned that her mother was ill There was a position made for her in the company, she [...]

    16. Things I liked about the book I liked the cultural pieces I ve never been to Asia or Singapore or thought about soy sauce on any level so it was nice to expand my horizon The plot was average, but no terrible so we ll keep it in the like column.Things I didn t like The main character was god awful and unlikeable I tried to cut her some slack with everything that happened to her, but goodness reading about her life was like watching some repeatedly slam their head in the door, say it hurts and th [...]

    17. Soy Sauce for Beginners was a promising read, depicting a 30 some asian, worn down by life and returning to her family roots, set in Singapore Almost sounds like my life in a couple years But Kirsten Chen s characters failed to come to life There are plenty of other reviews that hit my feelings pretty accurately concerning this book.A book that kind of languishes with no clear plot to follow, characters that I can no longer remember the name to, and feelings that don t really hit an emotional co [...]

    18. This book is the literary equivalent of fat free sugar free dessert Seems like an okay idea but not worth the effort This book took me forever to read Not because is was long, or complicated, or a dense read I just didn t care about it at all and had trouble forcing myself to pick it up I just finished this at 9 21 and will have forgotten about it completely by 9 25.

    19. This is a light and breezy book, easily read but without much satisfaction There were as many tired tropes as new or uncommon elements eg the alcoholic mother, the hunky and desirable Asian man

    20. Quick paced read about a family of artisan soy sauce makers Gretchen is the only daughter of the Lins, who run a soy sauce business in Singapore They make their sauce in small batches using old fashioned methods Gretchen s mother, who spent years studying in the United States, encouraged Gretchen to study, live, and work in the States as well rather than returning to Singapore But Gretchen is back in Singapore, having left her graduate program and apartment because she and her husband are estran [...]

    21. This is a book which took me a while to get into, but once I did I quite enjoyed the read It is the story of Gretchen who returns to Singapore and the family soy sauce factory after years of living in San Francisco following the break up of her marriage I really enjoyed reading about the factory and the history of it, as well as Singapore itself As for the food descriptions, well they just made me hungry although I found it ironic that surrounded by all the wonderful food, Gretchen preferred to [...]

    22. It s not quite up to the standards of a 4 star rating, but better than a 3 star, and since I can t give it 3 1 2, I rounded up.Kirsten Chen is a newcomer, and while I found her debut offering, Soy Sauce for Beginners to be charming and her characters relatable, it did have a few rough patches The book blurb and other reviews have done an adequate job summarizing the plot, so I ll skip that part of the review.I ll start with the positive Ms Chen has a mastery of the language which allows the read [...]

    23. Sadly, this book did not live up to my expectations While I consider it a worthwhile read, because it introduced me to some new ideas about cooking I had no idea there was such a thing as artisan soy sauce as well as culture I have never been out of the States Canada so some of the descriptions of Singapore were fascinating overall, I was bummed The climax of the book wait was there a climax There also seemed to be several interconnecting stories, except the problem is that they never really con [...]

    24. I think this book has a few really good characteristics The author does a great job with descriptions of both Singapore and San Francisco, and the new to me anyway process of making soy sauce Some of the characters were quite well fleshed out, but others seemed almost unnecessary, and one dimentional I was extremely disappointed that we didn t learn about the production of soy sauce Not that I will want to take it up any time soon, but some actual real life stuff would have made the story easie [...]

    25. I could totally see this book being made into a romantic dramedy for film It is a very cute book with a main character that has flaws but is still very likeable Gretchen Lin is 30 and leaving San Francisco after her husband cheats on her with a 21 year old student to head back to work in the family Soy Sauce business in Singapore Will she be drawn back to the family business full time or will she head back to America Will the new guy, James, that she meets in Singapore be the one or will her hus [...]

    26. A freebie I got from for being a Prime member my first foray into this portion of our newly acquired Prime membership , something called their First program This is a debut novel by the author, and I wasn t expecting to like it, since I mostly read Christian fiction But it was surprisingly good, and very clean I only remember 2 curse words in the entire book Nice plot, likeable characters, it kept me turning the Kindle pages

    27. This was a fast an easy read It was set in Singapore and gave me a good picture of a place I was unfamiliar with, and also interesting knowledge of the making of soy sauce While the MC remained a bit too passive and seemed much younger than her supposed age of 30, their was character growth and a touching family drama, realistic women s friendships, and a kind of sad look at modern marriage and dating.

    28. A fast and light read, with an abiding love for both Singapore and San Francisco Chen s evocation of late 20s early 30s life changes, and the struggles between one s own desires and the responsibility toward family are spot on and poignant The interweaving narratives of Gretchen Lin s marital upheaval in the USA and the fortunes of her family s soy sauce business in SG are well balanced, and her sensory descriptions of the titular sauce make me wish I could taste it right now.

    29. Beautifully written, although the book seemed to drag I think the main character of the story was too one dimensional She never did anything wrong, and everyone around her wronged her No responsibility was taken on her part, and the author didn t give us anything that she did do wrong I think this book would ve been great if Gretchen had some good, deep character flaws Instead she seemed just spoiled and like she was justified in every action and word.

    30. I liked this quiet, thoughtful book about a nearly 30 year old woman who moves home to Singapore and her experiences with navigating her family s business, men, heartbreak, and That s not a perspective you often get, and the Singapore setting really interested me The ending s a bit predictable, but that s okay Great writing.

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