Sarah N. (Corte Madera, CA)
I really enjoyed the book. I did want more out of the ending. I do think the characters were developed nicely. I really just wanted a little more meat out of the ending...
Meredith K. (Hackensack, NJ)
Just like Amy Tan or Lisa See
I found the book to be interesting but nothing really special. The charactors were intelligent but the author didn't really delve into their psyches as much as I had hoped they would.
It reminded me of so many other books that I have read about the Asian experience.
Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)
There are some writers who catch you with their first sentence. You may not have a particular interest in the topic, you may not have anything in common with the character, but their way with words feels like listening to a symphony or watching a sunrise. While Kirsten Chen achieves this, she achieves so much more in tackling the challenges of life we all face in a very interesting (and informative) context. I look forward to more from this author.
Lynn V. (Woodland Hills, CA)
Soy Sauce For Beginners
This is the well written story of a young woman who is hiding from a challenge she knows she must face: finding her place in the world. Because of difficult circumstances in her life, she moves from San Francisco back home to Singapore and in the process learns about her family's artisanal soy sauce business, what it means to be a friend, family loyalty, and most important, herself. There are many plot lines and characters in this book which keep the pace moving and the reader involved. Slightly fewer might have allowed the author to develop her characters a little more deeply which would have been a bonus. As a confirmed cook, I would have appreciated more complete information about the making and use of fine soy sauce. The information that was given was well researched and titillated my taste buds!
The book is a rather long build up of a somewhat immature Gretchen, having a hard time making up her mind. While I did enjoy the book a great deal, and felt some suspense about what her decision would be, I would have liked a greater depth in the description of her character so that there was more understanding about why she decided what she did.
Carmen S. (Elkins, AR)
I enjoyed reading this book. I have been to Singapore and I loved reading about the places I have been there. I enjoyed all the info on soy sauce. Very informative. Good story and loved all the family dynamics. Would like to know more of her story.
Mary Louise G. (Lords Valley, PA)
Soy Sauce for Beginners
I enjoyed reading Soy Sauce for Beginners and recommend it for book clubs. It gave me a new appreciation for the work and sacrifice involved in creating a genuine family soy sauce and the family dynamic involved. At family gatherings, it is still difficult for a lot of families to communicate their true feelings with one another.
Such skeletons as separation & divorce, alcoholism & work-aholism and other addictions lie buried in the family feud closets. Family pride keeps them buried unless a family member decides to undertake some digging. I have many
skeletons in my closet!!
Susan J. (Twain Harte, CA)
Not Just About Soy Sauce
I'm not usually a reader of food-related books, but soy sauce intrigued me since we use it frequently when we are in Hawaii. Now I have to look for artisanal varieties! I do love books which focus on the conflicts between Eastern and Western cultures, such as Jhumpa Lahiri's books, and this is clearly one of the themes here. But the issues that Gretchen faces are more universal: family secrets, the pressures inherent in a family business, the hurt of infidelity, the impulse to accept a bad relationship to avoid being alone, the loyalty in women's friendships, a couple growing apart after marrying young. I related to a number of these issues and feel the author handles them in realistic and very readable ways. I plan to pass this book along to my two adult daughters.