Wednesday, January 04, 2006

first review

We return from Montreal with a haircut, food and a bad cold. My perfume of cough drops is almost as unattractive as the reddish tinge they give my teeth and my constantly running nose is not an enhancement either.

However, my present condition was temporarily forgotten as I discovered my first review of "The Year of the Dog" (Amazon now says it's available, yippee!). It's from Publisher's Weekly, a journal that doesn't usually treat me favorably.

And it's GOOD. Not starred, but definitely positive. I'm just grateful that it isn't trashed. I know that I shouldn't be influenced by reviews, that one's work should be created by their own standards. But, this novel has been a project of professional insecurity for a while--sometimes you just need that pat on the back. Right or wrong, with this positive review I feel a sense of relief and reinforcement that the direction I am heading with my books and writing is not crazy.

But most of all, I am delighted by the fact that Publisher's Weekly thinks I am charming. This is something that Robert would disagree with as I sit in my pajamas, with a flaming raw nose and a pile of used kleenex.

Publisher's Weekly: Lin, best known for her picture books, here offers up a charming first novel, an autobiographical tale of an Asian-American girl's sweet and funny insights on family, identity and friendship. When her family celebrates Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Dog, Pacy (Grace is her American name) wonders what the coming months will bring. Her relatives explain that the Year of the Dog is traditionally the year when people "find themselves," discovering their values and what they want to do with their lives. With big expectations and lots of questions, the narrator moves through the next 12 months trying to figure out what makes her unique and how she fits in with her family, friends and classmates. Pacy experiences some good luck along the way, too, winning a contest that will inspire her career (Lin's fans will recognize the prize submission, The Ugly Vegetables, as her debut children's book). Lin creates an endearing protagonist, realistically dealing with universal emotions and situations. The well-structured story, divided into 29 brief chapters, introduces traditional customs (e.g., Hong Bao are special red envelopes with money in them, given as New Year's presents), culture and cuisine, and includes several apropos "flashback" anecdotes, mainly from Pacy's mother. The book's inviting design suggests a journal, and features childlike spot illustrations and a typeface with a hand- lettered quality. Girls everywhere, but especially those in the Asian-American community, will find much to embrace here.


6 Comments:

Blogger Teresa said...

Congratulations! (for the book/good review, not the cold) I hope you feel better soon. I'm looking forward to reading your chapter book.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Dan Santat said...

Yay Grace! Congrats on the great review!

11:20 PM  
Blogger nicole said...

Congratulations, Grace!

6:03 AM  
Blogger alvina said...

Wow--you know, I haven't even seen that review yet! It's GREAT! Congratulations!! (I like that it said it was "well-structured" although that's not something we would use as a blurb!! :)

The first of many rave reviews, I'm sure. Whew. (*sigh of relief*)

8:25 AM  
Blogger Karin said...

Terrific news! Congratulations!

4:23 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Congrats! Grace that is SOOOooo wonderful! You go, girl!

4:23 AM  

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