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  • Yes! Joan is okay, but...

    Joan is okay, easy to relate to, sometimes hard to figure. She is a thirty-six-year-old Chinese American workaholic doctor who loves her career. She appears fairly satisfied until the death of her father initiates shifts in her life. Her family closes in and pressures her to restructure herself: she should find a husband, be a mother, be more stylish in her appearance, and either demand more compensation from her job or open her own practice in a safer neighborhood. Everyone pushes a personality makeover. Joan had been comfortable with her low visibility at her apartment building but now a well-meaning neighbor badgers her into changing her lifestyle. Despite her stellar work performance, both her supervisor at the hospital and the HR department insist she takes more time off. Even the doorman at her apartment building feels the need to modify Joan, whether it is fixing her up romantically with the new tenant or correcting her posture before he will operate the elevator. Joan was okay! Joan was happy... she thought she was. Now she is questioning her position in the world. Should she be rearranging her interactions with her family? How has she been boxed in by Chinese American stereotypes and social limitations? She had even concealed her ability to speak Chinese from coworkers in order to avoid any judgment that may cause. Joan is a complex character, maintaining her humor and wit even as she struggles to balance her self definition against the vision others have for her. We feel an ominous rumble building as the coming pandemic begins to manipulate this story's direction. As a Chinese American doctor living in New York City so much is uncertain as the story winds up.  We are invested in Joan and need to see how she is going to fare now. We need to know that Joan is okay. I will be right there if Weike Wang shares more Joan. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. "I wanna think it's gonna be alright It's just a little soon to say"--Jackson Browne

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  • Unique and Interesting

    Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang is first-person account of Joan’s life as a New York City physician. Joan has a very unique point of view on almost everything. She works as a doctor in New York City during the COVID outbreak, but the book isn’t all about the pandemic, and mostly just touches on it for a part of the book. Joan is a very interesting person, and her outlook on life is different and interesting. Joan is a doctor in an intensive care unit at a New York City hospital. She’s the daughter of Chinese immigrants and has one brother, Fang. Once Joan and Fang were settled and in college, Joan’s parents returned to China. However, when Joan’s father suddenly passes away, Joan’s mother returns to the US to live with Joan’s brother Fang, and his family in Connecticut. Her mother’s return causes Joan to change her very insular life and move outside her comfort zone. When the COVID 19 pandemic hits New York City, Joan has to deal with her patients, but what is more difficult for Joan, is dealing with her mother, who can’t travel back to China due to flight restrictions. The writing for Joan is Okay is different and fascinating. It’s told from Joan’s point of view, and she has a unique and interesting look at life. The book follows her problems with her family and her work as an ICU physician, especially during a pandemic. I enjoyed her neighbor Mark, and her interactions with him. Her brother Fang is very successful and takes on the father role for Joan, which she is not happy about. I recommend Joan is Okay to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction and literary fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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  • Fantastic!

    expats, expectations, family-dynamics, friendship, workaholic, Chinese-culture, Chinese-customs, Chinese-languages, NYC***** The first half of the story is getting to know workaholic hospitalist called Joan and how she perceives herself and the world. Born in the US to parents who chose to return home to China once she was in college and with an older brother who had a diametrically opposed life view, her lifestyle reflects her need to be on the job at all times. Then father dies, she flies to the funeral and back, gets a new neighbor, and is bossed around by yuppie brother. Work goes well until she is forced to take an extended leave by the HR department and she finds another side of herself. While away in Connecticut with family, the Year of the Rat brings The Virus. Everything has changed for everyone. In the meantime we are given lessons in idioms in English and Chinese, Chinese culture, and lots more. The characters are well developed and engaging. There is lots of sly verbal humor that I could relate to. The ending feels as unfinished as our lives are since the virus has changed all of us. Great read! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House via NetGalley. Thank you!

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