Genre : Fiction, Memoir, Literary Fiction
Date of Release: July 20th, 2021
“Even this—questioning your life and your choices—this is incredibly brave.”
Plot : 4/5
Characters : 4/5
Writing : 4.5/5
OVERALL RATING : 4.5/5
On the advice of a five-dollar psychic, Tina Martin, a zany, overworked mother of two, quits her high-powered job and moves her family to Shanghai. Tina yearns for this new setting to bring her the zen-like inner peace she’s always heard about on infomercials. Instead, she becomes a totally exasperated fish out of water, doing wacky things like stealing the shoes of a shifty delivery man, spraying local women with a bidet hose, and contemplating the murder of her new pet cricket.
It takes the friendship of an elderly tai chi instructor, a hot Mandarin tutor, and several mah-jongg-tile-slinging expats to bring Tina closer to a culture she doesn’t understand, the dream job she never knew existed, and the self she has always sought. Fish Heads and Duck Skin will resonate with anyone who has ever wondered who they are, why they were put here, and how they ever lived before eating pan-fried pork buns.
As the synopsis suggests Tina, the mother of four-year-old Piper and seven-month-old Lila, is a workaholic who rarely has time for her children and husband. She approaches her breaking point as her workload is about to increase even more. When Tina’s husband Daniel is offered the chance to work in China, she eagerly prepares herself for a change of pace: slowing down to be a wife and mother, as predicted by a psychic she met. Shanghai, on the other hand, is nothing what she imagined, and a series of cultural shocks and amusing interactions with the people leave her with a strong sense of homesickness. Tina starts to realise that her current place is less important than the person she has to become as a result of her connection with elderly tai chi instructor Mr. Han and her interactions with the expat community.
The plot of the book is seriously one of the best I have come across so far. Considering the theme of the novel I was a bit hesitant before picking it up. However, all my doubts faded away as soon as I started the first chapter. I could not believe how well planned the plot was. It was engaging and interesting. The story was literally the growth process of Tina which was indeed very remarkable!
“Why don’t you feel the weight of the world? You don’t seem miserable.”
The characters were portrayed to be flawed in their own special way and I loved that. Be it the main leads or the side characters, each of them had their own story and a meaningful part to play in the story.
The writing style and wonderful and engaging. It was simple yet unique. I am definitely looking forward to read more for Lindsey.