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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.7 out of 5
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  • Real issues with a side order of chuckles

    This is a thought provoking collection of essays/part-memoir on the issues or conversation points of being of mixed-heritage. Each topic is discussed with sensitivity and a personal view/experience. I would chuckle frequently throughout this even when it was making me think! The narration by Phil Wang really worked to emphasise that this was a personal account. The humour would not have been as affective delivered by a different narrator. Overall enjoyed this, and thank you to the publishers for my gifted copy.

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  • A brilliant listen

    I listened to this audiobook with a gifted copy courtesy of publishers Hodder Studios and as part of a Tandem Collective listenalong. This review represents my own thoughts on the book. While author Phil Wang insists that this book is only part memoir, it is very much about his perspective as someone who was born in Britain, moved to Malaysia at just a few weeks old and then back to the UK in his mid-teens. Add to that an English mum whose own mother was French and a dad who was born in Borneo to a Chinese father and Malaysian mother, and you get a dry-witted comedian who is well placed to talk about identity and belonging. It is books like this that work particularly well as audiobooks I think. The tone of voice and emphasis the author adds in reading brings an added dimension that would be missing in the written word. And, while with fiction I’m happy for my imagination to fill in the gaps, in non-fiction it helps to get all the additional information I can. The book itself is an interesting look at the differences in culture between the UK and Malaysia, and how despite all the talk of multicultural societies there still seems to be a desire to pigeonhole people as coming from a particular place. And a place that fits perceptions about their name or skin colour - the where are you really from question. Phil’s dry sense of humour comes over really well in this audiobook. It feels like he’s dealing with some quite serious and potentially contentious issues in a way which makes it safe to have the conversation. I especially like the fact that while he says he is comfortable with the ‘where are you really from’ question when it comes from a place of genuine curiosity, but he recognises that his experience and perspective is personal and that for other people there are good reasons why that question can be offensive. A really interesting listen.

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