Summary and book reviews of In Full Bloom by Caroline Hwang

In Full Bloom

by Caroline Hwang

In Full Bloom
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2003, 291 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2004, 304 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

Wry humor, lively dialogue, and a compassionate take on being a single woman under a traditional mother's matchmaking thumb enliven this insightful debut.

Ginger Lee has come to New York to be someone--not to be with someone. Yet she's taking too long, according to her mother, who thinks a job is just a paycheck and that the solution to Ginger's problems is a nice professional Korean husband. Ginger could not disagree more, but unable to stand up to her mother, she sets upon a two-pronged plan: She'll sabotage the dates her mother arranges while stepping up her efforts to win a promotion at á la Mode magazine. She is confounded at every turn, however, by men who reject her before she can reject them and by style fiends better practiced in the art of office warfare. Finally free of her prejudices and preconceptions, Ginger finds that only by embracing her mother and her Asian roots will her happiness blossom. In Full Bloom heralds the arrival of a bright talent on today's literary scene.

Chapter 1

"Ginger, you there!"

Even for my mother this was a strange way to start a conversation. The ringing telephone had cut my shower short. I secured the towel wrapped around me. "Where else would I be Monday at eight-thirty in the morning?" A mere fashion assistant at À la Mode magazine, I was supposed to be at work in half an hour. But my boss was my best friend from college, and Sam wouldn't be in until eleven.

"Then why you don't answer the phone quickly? I rang and rang! I worry nobody home!" My mother was still shouting. I thought I heard traffic in the background--the same rapid-fire honks that were coming in through the open window. Why was she calling from the street? What was she doing on my street? I spun toward the window, my wet hair whipping me in the face. There, directly below on the sidewalk, was her black head and bright green Chanel suit.

"Mom? Why aren't you in Milwaukee? Did something happen? Is something wrong?"

"Nothing ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hwang runs out of steam by the end of the story with an anticlimactic resolution, but the novel has plenty of engaging moments and arch humor. With a little polishing, Hwang could become a crowd-pleasing storyteller.

Booklist - Kristine Huntley

Hwang throws in some unexpected surprises and manages to take a different approach to a popular genre.

Kirkus Reviews

Wry humor, lively dialogue, and a compassionate take on being a single woman under a traditional mother's matchmaking thumb enliven this insightful debut..... Perhaps most vitally, though, the story's savvy urban rush never jostles the gently endearing path of Hwang's delicate mother-daughter bond.

Author Blurb Melissa de la Cruz, author of Cat's Meow
In Full Bloom made me laugh, cringe in recognition, miss my family, and thank god I had never worked as a fashion assistant! Caroline Hwang has written a funny and sad novel, a truthful portrait of life in the fashionable fast lane as it is lived by a second generation Asian-American woman attempting to resolve both sides of her identity.

Author Blurb Jennifer Weiner, author of Good in Bed and In Her Shoes
Witty, insightful, and sharp as a pair of this season's Pradas, In Full Bloom offers a bouquet to any reader who's ever gone looking for love with her mother looking over her shoulder.

Author Blurb Emily Barr, author of Backpack and Baggage
I couldn't put it down! Caroline Hwang leads the reader to expect one thing, then hits us with the unexpected every time. She brings Jane Austen's themes storming into the twenty first century‚Äďand convention goes out the window.

Author Blurb Anna Maxted, author of Running in Heels
A smart, funny, elegantly written book, full of wit and intelligence.

Author Blurb Wendy Holden, author of Farm Fatale
Warm and quirky.

Reader Reviews

mbg1968

Very enjoyable! A nice glimpse of a different cultural outlook (than my own). All within a "chick-lit" plot but to a higher standard.

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