Author(s): Wai Chim
INDIE AWARD WINNER 2020
A novel about growing up in a migrant Asian family with a mother who is suffering from a mental illness, from the highly commended author of Freedom Swimmer. Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad's restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad's new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren't right at home, she's starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen. But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum's condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other. A nourishing tale about the crevices of culture, mental wellness and family.
Anna Chiu is pushed to her limit. Not only must she look after her younger brother and sister while her father works long hours at his failing restaurant 90 minutes away, she has to contend with her mother who suffers from frequent bouts of depression and takes to her bed for weeks. Then there's her school guidance adviser pushing her to take harder courses. When Anna helps her Dad during the school break, she finds a welcome distraction in Rory, the new restaurant delivery boy and she starts to enjoy being a normal teenage girl. But as her mother's condition worsens, the family has to make some tough choices.
This is an engrossing and big-hearted story about a family dealing with the stigma surrounding mental illness and the issues associated with traditional Chinese values clashing with the Australian lifestyle. But it is also funny, tender, romantic and full of descriptions of fragrant noodle soups and delicious dumplings. Anna and Rory are delightful, caring characters and you just hope that their relationship will succeed in spite of some testing circumstances.
Complete with a most appetising cover, readers aged 13+ who love a good wallow will devour it (and possible quite a few dumplings as well!).
Shortlisted Indie Awards - 2020