Book Review: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

Publisher: HQ, HarperCollins UK
Publication Date: 29 April 2021

‘ARE YOU…DEAD?’
OH MY GOD. I THINK HE IS.
When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.

WELL, THAT DIDN’T QUITE GO TO PLAN.
Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.

IT’S PRETTY BAD TIMING REALLY.
It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?

If you committed murder, would your family cover for you…?

Most of us will never learn the answer to that question (thank goodness!!). However when a blind date goes disastrously wrong this is the exact situation that Meddy Chan finds herself in.

Unfortunately, the incident occurs on the night before a big wedding. This wouldn’t usually be too much of a problem, except that Meddy, her mother and her four aunties all run a wedding planning business and the wedding in question is a major job for the family. Cue the hilarity as Meddy and her family run from one madcap situation to the next, trying to keep the body hidden until after the wedding.

The drama doesn’t stop at a dead body, there’s also some serious sibling rivalry between Meddy’s mother and her four aunties, the reappearance of Meddy’s first love, Nathan, and Meddy’s own uncertainty as to which path she should be taking in life.

The book is really a story about family. Meddy is torn between her own desires and her loyalty to her amazing, eccentric family. She might despair of her crazy family, but it is heart-warming to see how they all come together to protect each other.

I loved the cultural aspect to the book. The Chans are a Chinese/Indonesian family who have settled in the US. The book explores the differing ideals, values and expectations between the generations. As a second-generation immigrant, Meddy has had a very different upbring from the rest of the women and at times the differences are very apparent. I have a childhood friend who is second generation Taiwanese/American and I remember her family always speaking in an odd mix of English and Taiwanese, similar to Meddy and her family’s English/Mandarin/Indonesian conversations (largely due to Meddy’s lack of fluency in her family’s native language). I also recall various occasions during our teen years when my friend would find her parent’s continuing ties to their cultural roots and heritage somewhat frustrating, having herself grown up with American ways and values. The book consider the issues facing cross-cultural families with both humour and sensitivity.

I also loved the romance. Nathan and Meddy really are wonderful together and they obviously still have fond feelings towards each other, despite their break up. Meddy is torn between her loyalty to her family and her feelings for Nathan. Of course, the dead body is also guaranteed to throw a few spanners in the works!

I really did love this book and the eccentric array of characters. Dial A for Aunties is wonderful, ridiculous, absurd, hilarious, heart-warming and absolutely brilliant fun!  I’m excited to hear that Netflix have bought the rights to this book and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for any further books from Jesse Q Sutanto in the future.

A huge thanks to HarperCollins for both providing me with a copy of the book for review purposes and for introducing me to this fantastic author.

Jesse Q Sutanto is the author of Dial A for Aunties, The Obsession, and Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit. She has a master’s degree in creative writing from Oxford University, though she hasn’t found a way of saying that without sounding obnoxious. The film rights to her women’s fiction, Dial A for Aunties, was bought by Netflix in a competitive bidding war. Jesse lives in Indonesia with her husband, her two daughters, and her ridiculously large extended family, many of whom live just down the road.

Links

Website: jesseqsutanto.com
Twitter: @thewritinghippo
Facebook: @JesseQSutanto
Instagram: @jesseqsutanto
Goodreads: Jesse Q. Sutanto

Amazon UK  |  Goodreads  |

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