Read Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok Online


From the bestselling author of Girl in Translation, a novel about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing.Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York’s Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (America-born Chinese), Charlie’s entire world has been limFrom the bestselling author of Girl in Translation, a novel about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing.Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York’s Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (America-born Chinese), Charlie’s entire world has been limited to this small area. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her eleven-year-old sister, and works—miserably—as a dishwasher.But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew existed, and everything she once took to be certain turns upside down. Gradually, at the dance studio, awkward Charlie’s natural talents begin to emerge. With them, her perspective, expectations, and sense of self are transformed—something she must take great pains to hide from her father and his suspicion of all things Western. As Charlie blossoms, though, her sister becomes chronically ill. As Pa insists on treating his ailing child exclusively with Eastern practices to no avail, Charlie is forced to try to reconcile her two selves and her two worlds—Eastern and Western, old world and new—to rescue her little sister without sacrificing her newfound confidence and identity....

Title : Mambo in Chinatown
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781594632006
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mambo in Chinatown Reviews

  • Jean Kwok
    2019-01-14 10:39

    Since I'm the author, I obviously need to give this book five stars. Whatever your rating or review, thank you so much for reading and I really appreciate it. If you'd like to leave a comment for me by replying to this review, I'd love to hear from you! Sometimes the Goodreads notifications get lost in my inbox, so it might take me a little bit to respond. Thanks again! :-)

  • Debbie
    2019-01-19 12:35

    I have to say that while I found parts of the story interesting, other parts left me completely underwhelmed. I really wanted to like this one. Initially it grabbed me, and I found myself quickly turning pages. I liked the Chinese culture and I really thought that Charlie was a character that I could root for. Unfortunately, all of the Chinese medical treatment descriptions and her sister Lisa's "mysterious" health condition (which I had figured out way before the author finally decided to reveal it) really bogged the story down. It grew to be quite repetitive. Charlie's father was definitely a character that could use a good slap too, with his constant refusal to get his daughter the true help that she needed. The actual dancing part of the story was what originally drew me to the book. I really felt like the author dropped the ball here. It seemed to me like someone who really doesn't know a lot about dancing decided to write a book about dancing. She left large gaps in between each of Charlie's developmental stages, and left the reader to somehow believe that Charlie, who starts out the book as a dishwasher, can just magically become a competition level dancer who is good enough to give dancing lessons. Sorry, but I couldn't buy that. The author did a lot more telling than showing.The other part of the story that was a let-down for me was in the relationship between Charlie and Ryan. We are led to believe that there is a great chemistry between them that also shows up in their dancing. Nope. It just didn't come across for me.The ending of the book was also a bit odd. Suddenly Charlie's father does a 180 turn-around, and then everything gets tied up into a pretty little predictable bow. Then the author chooses a very odd place to just stop writing. I kept trying to turn the page to see if there was any more, but alas... no.So, unfortunately, for me this book was just a slightly below-average read.(I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    2019-01-01 11:33

    SWEDISH REVIEWMambo i Chinartown var en härlig överraskning! Jag hade hoppas på en småtrevlig bok, men jag räknade inte alls med att boken skulle vara så fängslade och förtjusande att det var svårt att lägga ifrån sig den. Boken lyckas med att både vara rolig och allvarlig och Charlies förvandling som sker gradvis genom bokens handling är underbar att följa.Men det är kulturkrocken mellan öst och väst som ger boken en special känsla. Jean Kwok har verkligen lyckats med att beskriva problem för en ung kvinna född i Amerika med kinesiska föräldrar. Charlies pappa är t.ex. emot västerländsk medicin och vägrar låta Charlies lillasyster Lisa få läkarhjälp när hon blir sjuk. han förlitar sig istället på österländska traditioner för att finna vad som är fel på henne. Han är förövrigt inte världens bästa stöd för systrarna (trots att han älskar dem) och mycket av den yttervärldens kontakt som t.ex. skola får Charlie ta hand om när det gäller Lisa.Det enda jag kan säga om boken som jag inte gillade var slutet. Eller rättare sagt att boken tog slut. Jag skulle ha velat läsa mer om Charlie, hennes familj och hennes vänner och fått reda på vad som händer härnäst.Tack till Bazar Förlag för recensionexemplaret!ENGLISH REVIEWMambo in Chinatown was a delightful surprise! I had hoped that the book would be pleasant to read, but I never thought that it would be both engrossing and charming. And, hard to put down. The book manages to be both funny and serious and Charlie's transformation that occurs gradually throughout the books is wonderful to follow.However, it's the culture clash between east and west that gives the books a special atmosphere. Jean Kwok has really managed to describe the problems a young girl faces in America with parents from China. Charlie's father is for instance against western medicine and refuses to let Charlie's little sister Lisa have medical aid when she gets sick. Instead, he relies on eastern traditions to try to find out what's wrong with her. He is, to be honest not the always the best support for the sisters (despite that he loves them) and much of the outside world contact like school is Charlie the one that has to deal with when it comes to Lisa.The only thing I didn't like about the book was the ending. Or rather that the book ended. I would have loved to read more about Charlie, her family and friends and what will happen next to them all.thanks to Bazar Förlag for the review copy!

  • Jaylia3
    2018-12-23 11:35

    It’s been many years since I was twenty-two, and I’m not ABC (American-born Chinese), and I’ve never had to choke down a traditional medicine brewed from the intimate body parts of strange animals to please a parent, but Charlie Wong is the kind of character it’s easy to relate to. Clumsy, imperfect, and devoted to her father and brilliant but troubled younger sister Lisa, Charlie has been working long hours as a dishwasher when Mambo in Chinatown opens, hoping for a chance at a better life. That opportunity comes when Lisa shows Charlie a want ad posted by a dance studio looking for a receptionist. It’s the kind of job Charlie has failed at before, organization and reading are big challenges for her, but she is determined to try even harder to succeed this time. Her mother, who died several years before, had been a star soloist with the Beijing Ballet back in China and Charlie is hoping that being around dancers will ease the pain of missing her. Charlie has to hide most details about her new job from her gentle, protective father, a man not comfortable with American ways, and things don’t exactly go as planned at the studio, but just as Charlie starts spreading her wings her sister Lisa begins having some frightening and confusing health problems. Charlie struggles to balance respect for her father’s Chinese values with her rapidly changing life and perspectives, and Lisa’s illness brings that conflict out in the open. The pleasures of this novel include a little romance, a lot of dance--the author knows her way around a dance floor and that adds fun to the story--and the dual Chinatown and dance studio settings, with richly detailed cultures and a full range of characters for both worlds. Even secondary characters are given motivations, back stories, and personalities that tug at the heart.

  • Abby
    2019-01-15 15:49

    *I received this book as part of the First-reads giveaways*My mother-in-law and I had a conversation not too long ago about what constitutes a 5-star rating for a book. Is it a good story? Is it fabulous writing? Is it the perfect mixture of both? Is it something else? Up until this reading this book, I was a 'perfect mixture' kind of girl. This story, however, was so entertaining and sentimental that I just couldn't stop reading! The writing was relatively straightforward, not a whole lot of symbolism going on, but I felt deeply connected to Charlie, and thought that she was a very well developed, thought out character. Both of her worlds (her home life and the dancing studio) brought out different parts of her personality, and I thought Kwon did an excellent job portraying the struggle Charlie felt in being accepted for who she was in general. I will say, however, that some of the phrases used were a little corny, and somewhat out of place. Like a professional dance teacher telling her students that there is a strict 'no hanky-panky' policy. Seriously, who says hanky-panky anymore? All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I have a feeling this copy will be one that is passed around and greatly loved by all. Oh, and has this been optioned for a movie yet? Because it would be a great one. :)

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-01-12 08:45

    Manhattan's Chinatown and two girls, now motherless but living with their father in a very limited area. For me, the most interesting part of this book was the adjustment that the girls had to make in staying true to their culture while harboring dreams that would take them out of it. This happens with the oldest girl, when she gets a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio. Her deceased mother had been a ballerina in Beijing and this job makes her fell closer to her mother. Her father, though, is suspicious of anything considered Western.I enjoyed reading about their traditional medicine at odds with the Western view and ways of the same. Their uncle is a highly thought of doctor of the traditional or Eastern medicine and the younger sister, who is only eleven, works in his shop. I don't think I will ever forget the part of (view spoiler)[ the snake pansies, or rat fetuses.There were a few parts and a few circumstances that just did not ring true for me, but on the whole a good read.(hide spoiler)]

  • Lorrie
    2019-01-10 13:58

    Second book I've read in the past month about Chinese Americans. This was extremely good! Listened to it as an audio in the car and definitely wanted to keep driving some trips instead of get out of the car!What I especially appreciated was the lesson I received in the Chinese culture (how to/not to use chop sticks, the medicinal beliefs, the holiday customs, for instance). The family unit of Pa, Charlie and Lisa was well developed and strongly knit. The extended family, uncle & aunt, were a little harder to see; however, the love between brothers was very evident. I thought I understood where the book was going and knew what the outcome was going to be. I was left guessing and surprised at one outcome. For this surprise, I had to pull the disk out of my car and bring it into the house to listen to this afternoon. Good read!!

  • Lauri Saplad
    2019-01-20 15:31

    Fab-u-lous! This is a triumphant story. The proverbial ugly duckling transforms herself with a lot of assistance from new and old friends. Charlie, a motherless child, must help her family with virtually no one to help her through adolescence and into adulthood. She lives the immigrant experience trying to assimilate from traditional Chinese culture into the American way of life. She must work long hours at a menial job and help support her family and raise her gifted younger sister. Suddenly opportunity presents itself and not only will Charlie be able to change her life, she will have the chance to be happy and at peace...

  • Hallie
    2019-01-12 11:46

    Wonderful story of a first-generation ABC, with a bit of a Cinderella twist. It was beyond painful reading about poor Charlie's struggles when she'd been in school, as she didn't get help for her dyslexia because her father was too embarrassed to go into the school to talk to her teachers or counselors. The grinding poverty and fear of even going near Western doctors to get help for her little sister were well depicted for the most part. (It was also a nice counterpart to S. J. Rozan's A Bitter Feast, as Charlie's father was a noodle-maker in a Chinatown restaurant, and Lydia's father had also been a cook in Chinatown.) I was very afraid of what might turn out to be wrong with Charlie's sister, but it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. (view spoiler)[ I really, really didn't want it to be her uncle who was sexually abusing her, as it was pretty obvious it was *someone* and she was so very reluctant to go to the uncle's office.(hide spoiler)]The romance was fine, for the most part (though they were beyond stupid to do *anything* in the hotel pool at the dance competition!), but the best thing for me was the way Charlie finally managed to come into her own and choose her own life while being able to help her father step up to take care of her sister, in ways he'd failed Charlie.

  • Suzanne
    2019-01-11 13:33

    I requested and received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a review, which I am very happy to provide. This is such a wonderful book, with a protagonist that will steal your heart with her hard work, devotion and unfailing ability to strive towards her own, and her younger sister's, opportunities wherever she finds them. Our heroine, Charlie, lives in Chinatown, caught between her father' s old world sensibilities, his fears of Communist bureaucracy laid upon American "paperwork" that he does not understand, and her own desire to fully enter into the larger American culture in which she has been born and currently lives. Add into this that her mother died when she was quite young, her father has raised her while still grieving, and she has been mostly raising her much younger sister. Chinatown is a community where everyone knows your business and is certain they can run your affairs much better than you. The book is delightful as Charlie begins to find her true self in her mother's former profession. The book is a coming of age story told in a charming and joyful manner. It is a delight to read.

  • Kim
    2018-12-28 11:55

    Kwok is back with her second book and it is as good as her first one. Dealing with the issues of family and change against the backdrop of being an American Born Chinese, our heroine, Charlie, must balance what she is able to do, what is expected of her, and how to be both mother and sister to her middle school aged younger sister with a father who has checked out of life following the death of her mother. Charlie is an untreated dyslexic who finds life is not so bad once she learns that she takes after her late mother with a particular talent. Her talent flies in the face of all her family and cultural expectations for her, and yet she succeeds. This is set against the backdrop of Chinese culture, but it resonates with all backgrounds. It is about how we change to become ourselves, and how those around us deal or do not deal with the change.

  • Liz
    2019-01-13 15:00

    3.5 Stars - This was an enjoyable book for the most part. I enjoyed learning about the world of ballroom dancing and Jean Kwok brings that world, as well as the world in New York Chinatown to life. Taking the journey as Charlie grows from an awkward and shy woman into a beautiful and confident swan made the book, well worth the read. However, I found the story predictable, the younger sister extremely whiney and the struggle of the family far too ordinary. I fell in love with her debut book Girl in Translation, but this one fell a little flat for me. However, this was an admirable sophomore effort.

  • Amanda
    2019-01-14 14:38

    Rating: 3/5 starsRecommended? YesLet me start off by stating that I have already read Jean Kwok's first novel, Girl in Translation. I enjoyed this debut novel, but I feel Mambo in Chinatown falls short of the magic Kwok captured in Girl in Translation.Kwok's writing is still concise, straightforward, and, overall, very easy and pleasant to read. There are times where details border on excessive, but it's easily overlooked when you understand they are mostly necessary. Mambo in Chinatown involves many aspects of Chinese culture that are most likely too foreign for Western audiences to understand without thorough explanations. When it came to the dances, however, I felt the descriptions started to feel repetitious as the story progressed. I don't know much about ballroom dancing, and perhaps you need to have ballroom experience to fully understand the dynamic emotions each dancing style evokes, but Kwok's descriptions of the different styles left my imagination unsatisfied. In short, there was a lot of "telling" and not enough "showing."The main character, Charlie Wong, is a twenty-two-year-old ABC (American-born Chinese) currently working as a dishwasher while still holding onto her dreams for a different and better life. Though complex and caring, I felt ambivalent towards Charlie. In the beginning, I really sympathized with her and her situation, but her transformation from "plain Jane" to a beautiful woman with a number of men vying for her attentions felt somewhat awkward to me. As for the supporting characters, they were all fairly interesting and enjoyable. Charlie's two best friends, Mo Li and Zan, complemented her well. Kwok did a great job giving the two women their own independent goals and storylines rather than functioning as near useless background players to the main character.The story itself felt fresh and passionate. It's obvious Kwok has a lot of interest in and love for ballroom dancing. When I browsed her personal website, sure enough, I learned about her experience as a professional ballroom dancer. While reading, I was invested in Charlie's progression and success as a professional ballroom dancer/instructor but less so with some of the other subplots. I had trouble fully accepting the 'forbidden love' storyline for reasons I will not disclose lest it spoil a part of the story for interested readers, and the father's character shift was unbelievably sudden. Despite an appropriate and fitting conclusion for Charlie's story, everything seemed to wrap up too conveniently at the end.Final Verdict: Although I feel this second novel is a step-down from her debut novel, Kwok's Mambo in Chinatown definitely deserves an attentive read. It's filled with rich knowledge of Chinese culture in an American setting and brings some much needed diversity to the fiction scene. Jean Kwok is an author worth watching!

  • athena
    2019-01-13 16:31

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway!I loved this book.Lovedit. This is personal more than anything, but being an ABC myself (American-born Chinese) I was able to connect with Charlie. The pressures she goes to to please her father and to fulfill her own dreams are just so...phew. I loved the whole plot of this novel: brilliant, original, and at the same time exposing issues that many are unaware of. It's already hard enough to please strict parents-- but for that parent to be hell-bent on something you don't agree on? That's the worst.Jean Kwok's writing is wonderful! The way she describes Charlie's struggles isn't bland and repetitive. Instead, she makes it passionate and she describes Charlie in such a way that it allows us, as the readers, to sympathize with her. And thedance scenes.My lord. Beautifully descriptive and magical. It's like I knew exactly how Charlie was moving; like I could just picture her graceful body doing twirls and whatnot on a stage in front of a grand audience. The love triangle (I guess you could say) that Kwok added in was a great twist to her plot. I didn't originally think that there would be romance in a novel like this, but it fits in nicely. I think the romance also assisted in Charlie's slow progression into a more mature, independent woman. She comes to realize the difference between love and want, respect and forever, and it's great. Her slow but steady transition really shows that dancing is her dream and she will fight for what she wants; it allows her to slowly make important decisions for herself instead of worrying about what her father might say, and overall it helped blossom her into a successful, beautiful and most of allhappywoman. I love it. Jean Kwok, you're wonderful. And a big thank you to Penguin Books for this generous giveaway, too. You guys are all fab.

  • Susan
    2019-01-20 13:37

    In her debut novel, GIRL IN TRANSLATION, Jean Kwok introduced the world to Kimberly Chang, a young immigrant from Hong Kong who settled in New York with her widowed mother. Kwok builds on the immigrant experience in her new book, MAMBO IN CHINATOWN.Charlie and Lisa are sisters eleven years apart, but as close as any sisters can be. Their mother passed away years ago and they live with their noodle-maker father. Pa is traditional and rarely leaves the confines of Chinatown. The same could be said for Charlie, the older daughter, until she leaves her dishwashing job at the noodle shop and finds work as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio far from Chinatown. Charlie is afraid to tell her father the truth about her job, especially when she starts teaching ballroom dance at the studio.Around this time, Lisa comes down with a mysterious ailment that baffles Charlie and Pa. Although Charlie has western medicine contacts through her dance studio, Pa insists on keeping Lisa's treatment in the realms of Chinese medicine. Pa's brother works in Chinese medicine and is a sought-after practitioner in Chinatown.This book is different from GIRL IN TRANSLATION in that it addresses adult issues in an immigrant community like Chinatown. Work, marriage, and big decisions like medical treatment are all central to this story. I enjoyed learning about the world of ballroom dancing. I knew a little about Chinese medicine before I read this book, but learned much more by the time I finished. And I loved the characters of Charlie, Lisa, Pa, and the other personalities in Chinatown, as well as those in the dance studio.Sophomore novels often don't live up to the expectations set by debut novels, but that is never an issue with MAMBO IN CHINATOWN. I loved this book just as much as Jean Kwok's first, if not more!

  • Joy Sorensen
    2018-12-22 14:58

    As in her first novel, Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok shares her knowledge of Chinese culture and brings it to life. She weaves another intriguing tale of daughters and their struggle to maintain traditions while trying to find their place in the western world. Charlie takes us deep into the world of ballroom dancing, discovering a talent that connects her to her mother in a way that she never felt as a clumsy, underappreciated dish washer. Her love and concern for her sister play a main part in this web of relationships with all the ups and downs of siblings who are so different and yet the same. Kwok actually worked as a professional ballroom dancer. Her writing introduces us to the beauty and complexity that accompany this glamorous life, all the while allowing the reader to become a part of Charlie's journey to love through dance, family, and age old customs. I highly recommend reading this book. Kwok has become one of my favorite authors of Chinese culture. I rank her right along side Amy Tan and Lisa See.

  • Martha
    2019-01-18 10:49

    This is a quick, easy read - perfect for times when you just don't feel like reading anything too taxing. Charlie and her sister, Lisa, are the American-born daughters of Chinese immigrants. They live in the insular world of Chinatown in NYC, trying to make their way with their widowed father. Charlie is in her 20's and stuck in a dishwashing job, going nowhere fast. She tries to help her father raise Lisa, who is 11, while trying to find her way out of Chinatown. She lands a job in a dance studio and her world changes. From there, the story gets pretty predictable and ends the way you expect this type of story to end, but it is an enjoyable read. The only bothersome detail (to me at least) is that Charlie's father does not speak much English and Charlie doesn't speak a lot of Chinese, yet they manage to have some deep conversations. I can't help but wonder how they communicate. I also find it hard to believe that she speaks as little Chinese as she does growing up with immigrant parents who don't speak a lot of English. That didn't ring true for me.

  • April
    2019-01-02 08:32

    I am always a little tiny bit hesitant when it comes to reading GROWN UP books, maybe because most of my reading time is spent whipping my way through young adult and middle grade books. Yet, when Mambo In Chinatown by Jean Kwok came across my threshold, I could not ignore it. I could not hesitate. You see, one of the first few review books that I ever received was Kwok’s Girl In Translation and spoiler alert: I loved it. Now, its been awhile since Girl In Translation was published, about four years actually. Friends, I am happy to say that Kwok has still got it and that while Mambo In Chinatown is certainly lighter than Girl In Translation, I think that it actually surpasses Girl in how much I enjoyed reading it, and that’s really saying something given how much I loved Kwok’s debut.Read the rest of my review hereNote: Review and link go live June 10, 2014

  • Kelly
    2019-01-14 15:36

    What an excellent book about growing up between cultures. Charlie navigates the space between what she desires -- a career and future in dance and pursuing the freedoms she has as an American born Chinese -- and what her cultural heritage and traditions say she should/should want to do. The modern vs. traditional thread pulls through every aspect of this book and it's done with reverence toward both. This is a book about dance and passion, about finding yourself and cultivating relationships with others. What I love most, maybe, is that this is about the lives of people who aren't told in every story or on every television show. This isn't sexy, smart, intelligent New York. This is a labor class story and it's not a rags to riches one. Definitely has teen appeal, though Charlie's just beyond her teen years and her sister is not quite a teen yet. Longer review to come.

  • Monika
    2019-01-15 14:53

    Redan när jag såg denna första gången så blev jag lite sugen, den verkade vara något för mig, men jag stod emot. Ända tills den faktiskt släpptes och mitt behov av feelgood var monumentalt. Då kände jag att jag bara måste läsa. What's not to like, liksom. Läs mer på min blogg

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2018-12-26 13:50

    I usually avoid the romance genre, but this book has a lot more than just romance. It's the story of a woman who grew up in Chinatown and is now trying to use her resourceful life skills to save her sister from a sudden illness, at the same time trying to hide her secret career from her father.

  • primeballerina
    2019-01-14 09:31

    Ich gebe zu, diesen Roman von Jean Kwok wollte ich schon alleine wegen dem wunderbaren Titel lesen: “Wenn die Liebe tanzen lernt” oder – im Original – “Mambo in Chinatown”.Kwok erzählt hier die Geschichte von Charlie Wong, welche gemeinsam mit ihrem Vater – einem Nudelmacher – und ihrer kleinen Schwester Lisa in Chinatown lebt. Den Großteil ihres Tages verbringt Charlie mit dem Tellerwaschen im Restaurant, in dem auch ihr Vater arbeitet. Das Geld ist in der Familie immer knapp, deswegen besteht Charlies Leben hauptsächlich aus dieser körperlich sehr anstrengenden Arbeit. Doch eines Tages bewirbt sie sich auf eine Stelle als Empfangsdame in einem der renommiertesten Tanzstudios in New York und entfacht damit ihren Traum, einmal so tanzen zu können, wie einst ihre Mutter. Sie bekommt tatsächlich die Stelle, macht ihre Arbeit jedoch mehr schlecht als recht – und muss sie zudem noch vor ihrem sehr traditionellen Vater geheim halten…Auch wenn der Anfang ein wenig langatmig erscheint, hat mir diese langsame Einführung in Charlies Geschichte im Nachhinein doch sehr gut gefallen. Denn die Autorin lässt ihre Geschichte sich Seite für Seite entfalten. Während der gesamten Geschichte gibt es keine überstürzte Handlung, vielmehr hat man den Eindruck, dass sich alles nach und nach, vollkommen logisch und authentisch entwickelt. In anderen Romanen würde mich diese Erzählweise vielleicht schnell langweilen, hier passt es jedoch unheimlich gut. Kwoks Schreibstil ist eben wie ein langsamer Walzer und kein schneller Cha-Cha-Cha.Entgegen meiner ersten Vermutung, dass sich dieser Roman hauptsächlich um die Liebe drehen wird, steht in “Wenn die Liebe tanzen lernt” die Geschichte einer chinesischen Familie in den USA im Vordergrund sowie der Umgang mit der eigenen, ursprünglichen, sehr traditionellen Kultur und Lebensweise in einer der modernsten, westlichen Städte überhaupt. So ist Charlie in den USA geboren und aufgewachsen, möchte genauso modern und selbstbewusst leben, wie der Großteil der Frauen in New York. Ihr Vater jedoch traut beispielsweise der modernen Medizin nicht und ist der Ansicht, dass lediglich ein chinesischer Mann für Charlie in Frage kommt. Sein gesamtes Leben beschränkt sich auf sein Viertel in Chinatown – dieses zu verlassen, stellt ihn schon vor eine sehr große Herausforderung. Hier prallen zwei grundsätzlich verschiedene Welten aufeinander und ich fand es sehr spannend und interessant, zu erfahren, wie beide Welten damit umgehen. Auch der Einblick in die chinesischen Traditionen, gerade im Hinblick auf die Medizin, fand ich sehr bereichernd.“Ich hatte das Gefühl, dass der Rest der Welt ein Geheimnis kannte, das mir verborgen blieb, dass sich alle Menschen synchron im Tangorhythmus bewegten, während ich Freestyle tanzte und allein mit den Armen in der Luft herumfuchtelte.” – Seite 118Dann lebt die Charlies Geschichte natürlich vom Tanz. Im Laufe der Handlung fängt Charlie mit dem Tanzen an – hauptsächlich Standard- und Lateintänze – und spätestens an dieser Stelle hätte ich mich in das Buch verliebt, da ich selbst jahrelang diese Tänze getanzt habe. Die Autorin erzählt sehr detailliert, genau und voller Leidenschaft vom Tanzen, den verschiedenen Bewegungen sowie der Leidenschaft dahinter. Da sie selbst einst Turniertänzerin war, sind ihre Eindrücke absolut authentisch und das merkt man ihnen auch an. Die mit dem Tanzen einhergehende Entwicklung von Charlie fand ich ganz wunderbar – man merkt förmlich selbst, wie sie an ihren neu erworbenen Fähigkeiten wächst und sich daran neu entdeckt und an Selbstbewusstsein gewinnt.“Wenn die Liebe tanzen lernt” ist keine allzu romantische Liebesgeschichte, vielmehr ist es ein sehr interessanter Roman, welcher von dem Kampf zwischen Tradition und Moderne erzählt und zeigt, wie ein eigentlich hoffnungsloses Mädchen im Tanz zu sich selbst findet. Klare Leseempfehlung.

  • Jenny (adultishbooks)
    2019-01-08 13:54

    3.5 StarsI found this overall enjoyable and it kept my interest for most of the time. I found the underlying discussion of Chinese immigrants trying to hold to their old way of life while living in America fascinating and authentic. I thought the characters, especially the protagonist Charlie, were strong and competently rounded out, which I appreciated. If you are a fan of Dirty Dancing, you might like this book.On the other hand, I found it uber predictable, even though I don't actively predict as I read. The pacing was rough. Some parts that dragged and other subplots that felt rushed. The ending was incredibly rushed and felt unresolved although everything was. This book did suffer from trying to do too much (there were a lot of secondary characters and subplots) and the book could've used a heavy handed edit. I do recommend the audiobook experience, although the reader did do a really exaggerated and heavy-handed Chinese accent. (I speak with Chinese speakers all the time for my job and the narrator's accent was a little much)

  • Amanda
    2018-12-30 11:43

    I loved Charlie and her struggles to strike a balance between finding herself and her dreams and being there for her widowed father and younger sister. Many of the issues presented are relatable, whether you're from a family of immigrants or not. I found myself easily immersed in Charlie's world. I particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of ballroom dancing and Tai Chi. I did feel that I knew quite early on what was going on with Charlie's sister, Lisa, and I wonder if it lent a darkness to the story that it didn't need. Not that a story such as Lisa's shouldn't be told or doesn't happen but it almost felt like Charlie wouldn't have felt any guilt or loyalty to her family without Lisa's situation, and I think she actually would. I just wonder if it really had a place in Charlie's story. I don't like feeling like such a situation is added just for drama.Check out my full review. (Link will be live February 12, 2017).

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    2019-01-15 09:46

    4.5 StarsOne of my special loves is dancing. It’s a love I got from my mother, just like Charlie did. Though, in the case of my family, it’s more about watching dancing than actually doing it, which I’m simply hopeless at. But, seriously, I don’t care how terrible a movie is: if it’s about dancing, I will watch it and probably like it a good deal more than I should. I hoped Mambo in Chinatown would be the book equivalent of movies like Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance?, and oh how right I was. Mambo in Chinatown is an adorable dancing movie about going for your dreams, as well as a touching story of family and culture.Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions.

  • Kim
    2019-01-04 14:33

    Terrific story! I loved reading about ballroom dancing. I knew when the bed wetting started there was something going on in the office where Lisa was working. I am happy it wasn't the uncle. My only question is what happened at the dance studio? Did Charlie continue teaching because Ryan quit taking lessons? And I was so happy Pa came around at the end. I guess the issues with Lisa slapped some sense into him! Also I liked the irony of the situation with Lisa. It wasn't an American that harmed his daughter but a Chinese man. So it wasn't their Western lifestyle that needed correction. I wonder if this one will get made into a movie? I sure would like to watch all of the dancing.

  • Donna
    2018-12-22 11:38

    This was an enjoyable read. I tend to like stories about Asian culture. I've read this author before and I enjoyed that one as well. This book had a slow methodical pace. That wasn't a bad thing here. I love the family dynamics and the cultural ties that seemed to wrap around the different generations (some generations are wrapped a little tighter). Every member, regardless of age, are trapped in tradition and in what is acceptable. The characters were well drawn and I felt I could relate to them, which is one of the things this author does well.There were a couple things that stood out like the proverbial elephant in the room. It was predictable on both story lines. This made the ending a little anti-climatic. Everything was wrapped up in a bright red bow.

  • Nancy Reynolds
    2018-12-23 10:47

    Great new spinning of the "ugly duckling" becoming a swan. I loved this book. It gave me such a new understanding for struggling to live between two cultures: western and eastern. Charlie is a 22 year old Chinese American girl who has never shone at anything - and suddenly gets her chance at thriving in the ballroom dance room. It truly is a modern-day fairytale. I won't say too much more because others have given the bare bones of the storyline in their reviews. If you want to learn more, read the book. You'll be glad you did.

  • Terri Haynes
    2019-01-06 09:49

    If you like dance movies, particularly Shall We Dance?, then you'll like this book. It is a little predictable, but not in a bad way. The fact that it's set in Asian culture and about ballroom dancing raised this book rating in my mind. There's not a lot of profanity, if that matters to you. Worth the read.

  • Linda
    2018-12-27 11:41

    This is a great story about the experience of a first generation American with hidden talent. She breaks the stereotypes you see in media usually about Asian women. It's an easy read and I don't mean for that to sound insulting. I genuinely cared about the main character.0