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“Long before I met him, I was a fan of his writing, and his merciless wit. He’s bigger than food.”—Anthony Bourdain Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most contro “Long before I met him, I was a fan of his writing, and his merciless wit. He’s bigger than food.”—Anthony Bourdain Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, Eddie wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own.   Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the All-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs (and scoring drugs) with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity. Funny, raw, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century—it’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.


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“Long before I met him, I was a fan of his writing, and his merciless wit. He’s bigger than food.”—Anthony Bourdain Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most contro “Long before I met him, I was a fan of his writing, and his merciless wit. He’s bigger than food.”—Anthony Bourdain Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, Eddie wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own.   Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the All-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs (and scoring drugs) with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity. Funny, raw, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century—it’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.

30 review for Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eveline Chao

    Emotional and brashly told memoir of Eddie Huang's childhood, love of food, and exploration of being Asian-American. Overall, this was a really winning, likable book. Huang is just so earnest and genuine and willing to be emotionally vulnerable in the things he says and the way he says them. It's hard not to come out liking anyone who puts their heart on their sleeve to the extent he does. The author writes in a kind of boastful, over-the-top tone and for me personally the braggadociousness was Emotional and brashly told memoir of Eddie Huang's childhood, love of food, and exploration of being Asian-American. Overall, this was a really winning, likable book. Huang is just so earnest and genuine and willing to be emotionally vulnerable in the things he says and the way he says them. It's hard not to come out liking anyone who puts their heart on their sleeve to the extent he does. The author writes in a kind of boastful, over-the-top tone and for me personally the braggadociousness was a little off-putting at times. But I guess the idea is that he's huge into hip-hop and that's like an aspect of that parlance for all kinds of positive and prideful reasons, so, hey, more power to him. It also has to be said that there was a not insignificant amount of...I don't know, I want to call it self-racism but maybe that's a bit strong. Counter-productive inter-Asian factionalism? Or something. Which he doesn't seem fully cognizant of, given that he actually calls for Asian solidarity in the book. Like, when Asians in the book act in ways that make him feel disapproved of - and it's not always clear whether they really are being disapproving or if it's just his perception - then they're lame "Uncle Chans," whereas basically anyone who likes and approves of him is down and a cool, worthwhile Asian. I grew up in an environment where black kids who did well in school got put down, called white, etc. by the other black kids, and am pretty much 100% against anyone of any race ever using terms like Uncle Tom, so I'm not really down with Huang coining this whole Uncle Chan thing either. Another example, he positions him making out with a white girl as being like this triumph for Asian men because he's breaking down stereotypes, etc., but it's kind of like, well but if you think of it that way you're basically defining yourself within a white structure, with a white metric. Oh another stray contradiction I just thought of - he criticizes David Chang of Momofuku for having inauthentic buns that are a rip-off of Taiwanese guo ba, then a few pages later bitches that Asian people who come into baohaus and unfavorably compare his bao to what you get in Taiwan are overly literal-minded Asian nerds who don't "get" it. Which is exactly the argument Chang could make of his critics. OK in terms of amount of word count devoted to pros vs. cons it now looks like I didn't like the book, but I actually did. Totally recommend it, and totally think a world in which everyone has read this is a better place!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pete Wung

    This book isn't for everyone. I thought it wasn't for me when I first started reading it. Eddie Huang is the owner of Baohaus, a NYC eatery that is one of the hottest places in town. This is his autobiography, the story of his evolution from a confused kids who was fresh off the boat to an entrepreneur and a food celebrity. I really like thisi book because his life experience runs parallel to mine in many ways. There are difference though, and even though Eddie speaks from a place that is near and This book isn't for everyone. I thought it wasn't for me when I first started reading it. Eddie Huang is the owner of Baohaus, a NYC eatery that is one of the hottest places in town. This is his autobiography, the story of his evolution from a confused kids who was fresh off the boat to an entrepreneur and a food celebrity. I really like thisi book because his life experience runs parallel to mine in many ways. There are difference though, and even though Eddie speaks from a place that is near and dear to my heart, I am from an era that is far removed from Eddie Huang's generation. Hip-hop isn't my thing and I just don't get it. BUT, there are enough commonalities so that I do get where he is coming from. We both were born in Taiwan, we both came to America as young children. We both found our way through the maze that is America. Eddie did it about twenty years after I did, and he did it with far more courage. I went through the Caucasian society by keeping my head down and working at getting better and smarter their way. Eddie did it by figuring out his way and then having the courage and discipline to stay with it. I seethed inwardly at the racial stereotyping and the inequalities inherent in America, Eddie fought those things and more. Literally. First of all, being the only Chinese kid in the neighborhood is not a good deal. The stereotypes run rampant and people get really ticked if you don't behave the way they want you to behave. Both of us have been through all that and Eddie's stories, while outrageous sounding, smack of the truth. He is as real as it gets, even more real than anyone wants. The other part of the growing up Chinese/Taiwanese in America is the relationships we have with our families, particularly our parents. There is some hidden genetic code in Chinese parents, they all must have learned from the same book, just like the Tiger mom's book. You never praise your kid, you never let them know just how proud you are of them. Whatever they do is never enough and they are the dumbest, ugliest, the most worthless human beings on earth. While I love my parents, nothing I ever did was right, anything that I did which did not conform to their definitions of success: good grades, assimilation, wealth, and grudging acceptance by the Caucasians. was considered not good enough. So reading that part of the book was intense and had me riveted. As a matter of fact, this book had me riveted for a good number of instance. Eddie Huang can write, his intelligence overflows the pages. But there are numerous times when he writes in his true street vernacular, those are the times that I really could not understand just what he is saying. But his rhythm, his tone, and his style really does help me transcend the lost in the translation feeling and drives home the points that he wanted to drive home. I think the most enjoyable parts of the autobiography for me is when he starts talking about the foods of Taiwan and his own study of those foods. His expert descriptions of the street foods had my mouth watering at the memories and his description of his own culinary adventures had me marveling at his talent. In the end, I think this is a book for the open minded. I don't think the average Food Network groupie would get into the cultural analysis inherent in the book. Many Chinese people would be horrified at some of young Eddie's adventures. It certainly won't make Chinese parents happy. In the end, Eddite Huang's honesty and straight as an arrow attitude is very attractive and makes for great reading.

  3. 5 out of 5

    karen

    sometimes it is fun to work at barnes and noble!! sometimes. sometimes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    A B

    This book is trash. It's a true disaster from the front cover to the last page. Eddie Huang spends 250+ pages spewing hatred about America and how much he hates "whiteness" (what he perceives as the culture of Caucasian Americans) to the point that he discusses how annoyed he was to see outward signs of patriotism post 9/11. In fact, from his own words, it seems like those same Americans he hates were nothing but nice to him. He is prejudiced against them for not knowing the intricacies of Chine This book is trash. It's a true disaster from the front cover to the last page. Eddie Huang spends 250+ pages spewing hatred about America and how much he hates "whiteness" (what he perceives as the culture of Caucasian Americans) to the point that he discusses how annoyed he was to see outward signs of patriotism post 9/11. In fact, from his own words, it seems like those same Americans he hates were nothing but nice to him. He is prejudiced against them for not knowing the intricacies of Chinese regional cooking, yet makes fun of their tuna salad and white bread. He lies, steals, terrorizes teachers, gets into fights unprovoked, trashes homes, and even sets loose a classmate's pet rabbits. He's lucky in that he never really has to own up for his crimes and in fact is rather smug about it, not realizing that the Americans he hates were the ones giving him second chances. The book is peppered with slang words on nearly every page in a misguided attempt to make the book seem edgy yet funny, and fails pathetically. The writing is awful. He actually describes a friend's mother as "literally" sucking his bone marrow out, yet I was disappointed to learn that the woman was not a vampire, succubus, or similar creature. What's most perplexing is that Eddie is a first-generation American. If he hates America so much, why doesn't he leave? He's not fresh off the boat. So this isn't even an immigrant story. It's a story of a whiny wannabe thug with mentally and physically abusive parents. Instead of being impressed or evenly remotely entertained with his story, my only perception of Eddie Huang is that "Whoa, we got a badass over here" meme. (FYI, that's not a compliment). I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway and it came with a letter from the publisher promising me that I would not regret reading this book. And I don't. My white American mother taught me to always say something nice, so here goes: I do not regret reading this book. Now that I know what a piece of crap it is, I can add it to my emergency toilet paper stash.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Huang did life his way. That's what he wants you to know. He wants you to know he liked Obama before it was cool. He wants you to know all the times he was bullied or edged out of a job because of his Taiwanese heritage. He wants you to know about the drugs he sold, people he assaulted, basically what a badass he is. Oh yeah, and he wants you to know about his mad culinary skills. He managed to write a memoir where he is always the victim turned hero, and while it's entertaining at times to read Huang did life his way. That's what he wants you to know. He wants you to know he liked Obama before it was cool. He wants you to know all the times he was bullied or edged out of a job because of his Taiwanese heritage. He wants you to know about the drugs he sold, people he assaulted, basically what a badass he is. Oh yeah, and he wants you to know about his mad culinary skills. He managed to write a memoir where he is always the victim turned hero, and while it's entertaining at times to read, you start to realize that the 9 year old kid voice is his actual 30 year old adult voice... and you feel kinda bad for him.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carlo

    Loved this shit. As a 1.5 generation immigrant, Wu Tang fan and food culture lover, this book hits extremely close to home. As a contrast, I love Steve Jobs' work, but I could not relate to his origin story and though interesting, I kind of just put the book down and never came back to it. I was hooked on Fresh Off the Boat cover to cover, from the funny Wu Tang references, to the heartfelt love/hate with his family, to ripping on Asian fusion because it doesn't respect the culture, I fucking lo Loved this shit. As a 1.5 generation immigrant, Wu Tang fan and food culture lover, this book hits extremely close to home. As a contrast, I love Steve Jobs' work, but I could not relate to his origin story and though interesting, I kind of just put the book down and never came back to it. I was hooked on Fresh Off the Boat cover to cover, from the funny Wu Tang references, to the heartfelt love/hate with his family, to ripping on Asian fusion because it doesn't respect the culture, I fucking loved this book. Your mileage may vary.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jack Cheng

    So, I think I hate Eddie Huang. He's obnoxious, writes in this ghetto speak -- "Cot damn, son! Man up and just write 'Goddamn'! You scared of the divine or some shit?"-- and brags first about what a bad, delinquent kid he is, and then about what a brilliant mind he has, pulling down As and starting businesses. He's also too young to write a memoir -- if you're giving props to your college professors for introducing you to cultural studies, you're too young to write a memoir. The worst part of th So, I think I hate Eddie Huang. He's obnoxious, writes in this ghetto speak -- "Cot damn, son! Man up and just write 'Goddamn'! You scared of the divine or some shit?"-- and brags first about what a bad, delinquent kid he is, and then about what a brilliant mind he has, pulling down As and starting businesses. He's also too young to write a memoir -- if you're giving props to your college professors for introducing you to cultural studies, you're too young to write a memoir. The worst part of this book is that I had no idea who the f--- he was until the end it turns out that he is the proprietor of a 400 sq foot restaurant in NYC's Lower East Side that had its moment in the sun. That said, there are lots of Chinese immigrant experiences and while I have very little in common with the stories I read from Amy Tan or Gish Jen, Huang's family experience is fairly similar to mine, with references to the Taiwanese Love Boat and -- especially -- the food (stinky tofu and the like). For that reason, I got a kick out of it, and I would probably try his restaurant (they serve $5 sandwiches, this is not Per Se) but the book is pretty bad. Oh, here's how much he padded it out at the end: He reprinted his Craigslist ad for employees. This is a guy who is not as funny or clever as he thinks he is. UPDATE: There seems to be a lot of interest in this review, probably because of the television show based on it. For the record, I find the tv show very funny, probably more so for the parents than the kids. The show is more entertaining than the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Limeminearia

    Like spending hours listening to the most annoying kid in your pre-algebra class boasting about things like shoplifting hip-hop CDs at Best Buy to bring back to his mansion and "wilding" at parties ("I was toe up!") What a dick. If you like bros who call all women "shawties" and all men "Son" you will likely find this book to be hilarious. "Hilarious" is also the term the author uses to describe his friend opening fire at a frat party. I call bullshit on this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    Eesh, I found this Eddie Huang guy to be immature, rude, violent and smug. I heard him interviewed on NPR and thought I'd like his book but now that I've read it, I just credit that NPR interviewer. If you don't have the same background and interests as Huang it's hard to understand him; I don't have a background in hip hop and ebonics, and I'm not all that into food. I'm not sure if he's OCD, but he sounds to me like he expects the rest of the world to be as obsessed with his obsessions as he i Eesh, I found this Eddie Huang guy to be immature, rude, violent and smug. I heard him interviewed on NPR and thought I'd like his book but now that I've read it, I just credit that NPR interviewer. If you don't have the same background and interests as Huang it's hard to understand him; I don't have a background in hip hop and ebonics, and I'm not all that into food. I'm not sure if he's OCD, but he sounds to me like he expects the rest of the world to be as obsessed with his obsessions as he is, which makes for a boring 275 pages. And on top of that he is completely intolerant of everybody who isn't him - the herbs, the model minority, assimilated Asians who are fully functional, and the "weird Bridge & Tunnel Jersey fools dressed like Ellen Degeneres". I can't believe he did standup, I just didn't find him funny at all. And I just could not even with the sartorial smugness when he's wearing his boots or basketball shoes or whatever without laces, and sweat pants and hoodies, a grown man. He's so anti-establishment, as he's dealing drugs through law school and while working for a law firm. Feh.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I enjoyed the heck out of this. It's messy and imperfect and definitely shows the signs of being a memoir written by a relatively young person (which is to say, some parts seem to reflect more, uh, actual reflection than others), but overall, I can't resist a story with this much brashness and heart and food and humor and working through your own pain and identity and questionable choices. I think the section about his childhood was my favorite, because he does a lot more showing than telling ab I enjoyed the heck out of this. It's messy and imperfect and definitely shows the signs of being a memoir written by a relatively young person (which is to say, some parts seem to reflect more, uh, actual reflection than others), but overall, I can't resist a story with this much brashness and heart and food and humor and working through your own pain and identity and questionable choices. I think the section about his childhood was my favorite, because he does a lot more showing than telling about his relationship with his parents and his brothers (later in the book there is a lot of "this person became my super good friend because they are awesome" instead of illustrating the development of relationships through actual story-telling). But on balance, I really liked this. Really loved the part about the first time he goes over to a white friend's house and sees the massive number of toys but then also has to eat gross white-person food, the revelation that Christianity can be creepy if you didn't grow up with it ("you want me to let Jesus ... into my heart? Yeahhhh okay"), and the bit about always making sure his youngest brother got the blue dinosaur. Also really appreciated the honesty and raw emotion in talking about his relationship with his parents, which is something he has clearly come a long way in terms of understanding and coming to terms with. Yay for memoirs! Also, obviously, now want to eat ALL THE FOOD that he talks about with so much passion and enthusiasm.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Derek Barnes

    Anthony Bourdain calls Fresh Off the Boat 'a serious piece of work -- and an important one.' Trust me when I tell you that it's neither. If you're looking for literature, keep looking. It's mildly entertaining, however, and occasionally provocative. Written entirely in inner-city slang, Huang, with a weirdly self-aware irony, spends most of the book accusing non-Asians who dare cook Asian food of co-opting the culture while talking about how the NBA, Nike Air Jordans, and hip-hop music are the d Anthony Bourdain calls Fresh Off the Boat 'a serious piece of work -- and an important one.' Trust me when I tell you that it's neither. If you're looking for literature, keep looking. It's mildly entertaining, however, and occasionally provocative. Written entirely in inner-city slang, Huang, with a weirdly self-aware irony, spends most of the book accusing non-Asians who dare cook Asian food of co-opting the culture while talking about how the NBA, Nike Air Jordans, and hip-hop music are the defining cultural elements of his life. The guy is, in reality, a 2 bit hustler who is as at home slinging weed and t-shirts on the street as he is cooking food. It's telling that his first foray into cooking was a reality TV show on the Foodnetwork and Guy Fieri's was the voice that encouraged him to jump into the cooking fray. Despite whatever newspaper reader's choice award he cares to quote, he really has no business comparing himself in the kitchen to dedicated chefs like David Chang and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. As a writer Huang is really more entertaining in the small doses like those he provides on his blog. His recap posts on the HBO series, Girls, for example, are great. Also, I think his Fresh Off the Boat show on vice.com is both entertaining and informative. I like Eddie, but 'pop' should always precede any description of him as a chef or as a writer.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    People who voice their opinions in a raw, articulate way, without compromise, are rare these days. I think of Harlan Ellison or Anthony Bourdain, or even Mary McCarthy. They stand out because their honesty and insight is packaged so poetically that their work comes across as some kind of street-corner serenade. Which brings us to Eddie Huang. The voice of this memoir is so heartfelt, humorous, and unique, I switched from print to an audio version, read by the author--which is THE best way to cons People who voice their opinions in a raw, articulate way, without compromise, are rare these days. I think of Harlan Ellison or Anthony Bourdain, or even Mary McCarthy. They stand out because their honesty and insight is packaged so poetically that their work comes across as some kind of street-corner serenade. Which brings us to Eddie Huang. The voice of this memoir is so heartfelt, humorous, and unique, I switched from print to an audio version, read by the author--which is THE best way to consume this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tim Chang

    I think I got dumber after reading this book. Huang writes about his life of growing up as an Asian American in the 90s who loves hip-hop, basketball, and getting into trouble. He's really good at criticizing and complaining about everything that's wrong with America, White people, and Asian Americans that don't think or act like him. I kept reading the book in hopes that he would offer possible solutions or resolutions to the problems and issues he pointed out. Instead, what I got was his BaoHa I think I got dumber after reading this book. Huang writes about his life of growing up as an Asian American in the 90s who loves hip-hop, basketball, and getting into trouble. He's really good at criticizing and complaining about everything that's wrong with America, White people, and Asian Americans that don't think or act like him. I kept reading the book in hopes that he would offer possible solutions or resolutions to the problems and issues he pointed out. Instead, what I got was his BaoHaus success story, and how we should "take the things from America that speak to you, that excite you, that inspire you, and be the Americans we all want to know..." unless, of course, it's gentri-yuppy-fied White culture, listening to your crazy Asian parents, or anything that's not what Huang is down with. And the book wasn't even funny! The way he criticizes the aforementioned was so extreme, off-putting, and oftentimes fueled solely by emotional rotten-banana angst that it lost any sense of humor that was likely intended. If a book doesn't have a moral or message, it at least should have humor or entertainment value. This one, unfortunately, had neither for me. Don't waste your time with this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I appreciate that Eddie tried to be himself and sound personable to his readers. However, I think that it's hard for me to relate to him and to understand his arguments. To me, he wants to be seen as son of working class immigrant parents, who appreciates his heritage, and "keeps it real". But, he pretty much contradicts himself consistently. He openly talks about how much he hates his parents, how he acted like a huge asshole growing up (which gives him, his family, and his heritage a bad rap), I appreciate that Eddie tried to be himself and sound personable to his readers. However, I think that it's hard for me to relate to him and to understand his arguments. To me, he wants to be seen as son of working class immigrant parents, who appreciates his heritage, and "keeps it real". But, he pretty much contradicts himself consistently. He openly talks about how much he hates his parents, how he acted like a huge asshole growing up (which gives him, his family, and his heritage a bad rap), and his hood voice changes from chapter to chapter. He'll write a whole chapter using words like illest/fux/cot damn, but then go into talking about food using these really pretentious cooking terms like "cooking off the first". I thought the book was really poorly written and organized. At the end of one chapter, he talks about how he got into Syracuse for college, has a scholarship, and is determined to go against he father's wishes. The next chapter starts something like "When I got to Pittsburgh..." What? Where did that come from? I appreciate how he speaks against stereotypes of Asian men as emasculated, but he only talks about women as "shawties". So, counter feeling emasculated by being demeaning to women? Eddie credits Guy Fieri for pushing him to get him into the restaurant business, but then bashes Guy and the Food Network which makes it seem like he has no respect or loyalty. So yeah, I have a million problems with this book. I think there are some interesting points, but overall, it's just a lot of nonsensical stupidity about getting high and being a dick.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ye Jin

    I've never watched his show, but I have a sense of the type of celebrity chef Eddie Huang portrays on TV. I'm lying when I say I read this book because I just couldn't finish it. His story is funny, interesting at times, but the profanity and the constant talk about rap music and sports were very spastic and distracting. He'd throw in after bleep bleeping bleep,something to the effect of,"i noticed the essence of lemongrass with the mouthfeel of an oyster" talking from the point of view of a 9 y I've never watched his show, but I have a sense of the type of celebrity chef Eddie Huang portrays on TV. I'm lying when I say I read this book because I just couldn't finish it. His story is funny, interesting at times, but the profanity and the constant talk about rap music and sports were very spastic and distracting. He'd throw in after bleep bleeping bleep,something to the effect of,"i noticed the essence of lemongrass with the mouthfeel of an oyster" talking from the point of view of a 9 year old. It isn't that I don't believe Eddie, it is just that not everyone needs to write a book. Others may find this humorous, but I just found it too shock-jocky, in your face, ego-centric TV celebrity chef. The chefs that offer real inspiration don't need the bling or the homeboy 'tude. Just sayin'.

  16. 5 out of 5

    quinnster

    I had started reading/listening to Eddie Huang's book awhile back in my quest to find audiobooks that kept me interested. It couldn't really hold my attention and I found Huang's style slightly irritating so I just let the book expire. After watching the sitcom Fresh Off The Boat on ABC I decided to give it another try. I had read about the controversy about the show. How Huang has said that the show is so far removed from his life that he doesn't even watch it and what a piece of garbage it is, I had started reading/listening to Eddie Huang's book awhile back in my quest to find audiobooks that kept me interested. It couldn't really hold my attention and I found Huang's style slightly irritating so I just let the book expire. After watching the sitcom Fresh Off The Boat on ABC I decided to give it another try. I had read about the controversy about the show. How Huang has said that the show is so far removed from his life that he doesn't even watch it and what a piece of garbage it is, etc. so I wanted to see how different it was. What I discovered is that ABC created likable characters where there were few. Did they sugarcoat things? Of course! He sold his rights away to a family network so they could create a sitcom. If he wanted edgy he should have shopped out to AMC or FX. But I guess for a guy who hates TV and 'only watches HBO' he just didn't know any better or in Huang speak he was 'ignant'. What did I like about this book? I loved the way he talked about food. He has a knack for describing technically while still painting a picture so you can see the steam rising off a simmering bowl of beef noodle soup. He has good points about fusion food (it's unnecessary) and how to cook with your senses, with your tastes and experiences than with measuring cups and recipe cards. It had me craving food the entire time. Huang is incredibly intelligent. Well read not because he wanted to be able to say he read Tolstoy but because he really wanted to read Tolstoy. You could tell that he loved to learn even if he didn't want to be 'that Asian'. His path to Baohaus in impressive in it's long winding route and he has, at such a young age, accomplished quite a bit. Unfortunately, the list of things I didn't love about this book is a little longer. Huang's intelligence has him under the impression that he is smarter, better than everyone else. He talks about being humble, but that's bullshit. There is nothing humble about this guy. He's a major shit talker. He has a disdain for anyone who isn't 'real', which is kind of ludicrous considering he spent his entire childhood trying to get so far away from his culture that he doesn't even see it. He hates everyone.. He goes on about ABCs (American Born Chinese), David Chang, frat boys, college kids, Americans, white people, white people, white people. He has such a chip on his shoulder it's amazing he doesn't tip over. He doesn't consider himself American, doesn't subscribe to the idea of an American patriot. When 9/11 happened it didn't really happen to him because this wasn't his country. Then why stay here? For a time he has to go to Taiwan for some sentencing thing. Why didn't he stay there? Oh, because there were no opportunities for him. He had to come to AMERICA to do what he wanted to do. He comes across as snobbish and ungrateful. But the icing on the cake is how he totally relates with the struggle of black people. I mean, he understands being held down because his parents sent him to 7 different private schools and raised him in a gated community where Tiger Woods lived. He tries to distance himself by saying stuff like, well, it was his father's money not his. When his father gives him a Mercedes for his first car he says it was such an insult because he didn't buy it for himself and showed what a horrible childhood he had. It's hard to feel sorry for that kind of hardship. He talks big about being hard and you can tell he so badly wants to be a 'gangsta' but his misdeeds were born out of desperation to be tough, not because he was. He is, despite his protestations, a poseur. Now, I'm not saying that he couldn't relate to the lyrics in hip hop. I'm not saying it was easy growing up the only Asian around white kids or that having parents who beat their kids wasn't a shitty way to grow up, but no, I don't think that means you are the same as another race. Just be your own. Own your shit. Carve your own path. He doesn't want to be Taiwanese, he wants to be black, but he isn't. But he'll take the Taiwanese when he sees how he can make it successful. Maybe it's because I'm just not into the hip hop scene, don't speak the language, but it got tiring. The book is full of alternately whining about being held down by the white man and patting himself on the back for being smarter than everyone else. I can see why ABC changed his story and I'm glad they did. ABC's Fresh Off The Boat might not be the show that Eddie Huang wanted, but it's put main cast Asians on a major network for the first time in 20 years and that should be something to be proud of.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Fresh off the Boat is foodie and pop culture sensation Eddie Huang's memoir, told with an unceasing barrage of street lingo, rap lyrics, and other empty phrases that grew tiresome after a few chapters. It quickly became evident that I wasn't the target audience for Huang's uber-street life story. Still, it did stretch credulity at times. Despite the author's attempts to paint himself as some outcast, his is essentially a middle-class success story, set to an 80s-90s hip hop soundtrack, and overf Fresh off the Boat is foodie and pop culture sensation Eddie Huang's memoir, told with an unceasing barrage of street lingo, rap lyrics, and other empty phrases that grew tiresome after a few chapters. It quickly became evident that I wasn't the target audience for Huang's uber-street life story. Still, it did stretch credulity at times. Despite the author's attempts to paint himself as some outcast, his is essentially a middle-class success story, set to an 80s-90s hip hop soundtrack, and overflowing with a chip on the shoulder anger that is frequently acted upon but never fully explained. All I could determine was that, like so many people of his generation, Huang seems angry because he feels disrespected because he's not part of the mainstream. Yet, his full-out embrace of hip-hop culture, American sports, and pop culture point to a guy that isn't quite the outcast he wants me to believe he is. The guy is educated (he has his J.D.), but when someone gloms onto a manner of speaking and behaving that makes him sound ignorant and threatening, it just seems so foolish to me. When was it that the culture of illiteracy and criminal worship became so hip that even smart people felt compelled to sound stupid and our culture embraced idiocy? Whether it was W. trying to connect as some rancher hick or this particular author trying to sound like a rap gangsta who dropped out of school - it smacks of pretense and sends a message that one can only be genuine if they superficially deny their education, their intelligence, and their maturity and thus connect with the "real" people. In other words, talk and act like an ignorant punk and then get defensive when someone assumes you are one. Does this have anything to do with how well Eddie Huang cooks? No. But it certainly has a lot to do with how much time I want to spend consuming his story. To be fair, Huang is twenty-plus years younger than me, nonetheless, reading his book only underscores how poorly street talk translates to the written word. The story is too long and wastes the reader's time with the lengthier equivalents of Twitter posts that pinball about randomly without ever being more than small unconnected vignettes of his life. However, they don't fill solidly, instead leaving pockets of pointless words; they're autobiographical Styrofoam peanuts. For that matter, over half the book is on his years before he graduated from high school. He spends a few pages on his years at Pitt (my alma mater, so I give him credit for recognizing Primanti's and other Pittsburgh touchstones), but his famous Baohaus section is only about thirty pages of the entire 272 in the book. The best attempt at garnering a moral from his tale is that success takes hard work and determination. Quite the fortune cookie epiphany there, Eddie. The media hype pushes his story as being fresh and raw and real, but to me Huang seems more like a media flash-in-the-pan opposed to a lasting force in the culinary world. That his buddy Anthony Bourdain pimps him says more about how insular Bourdain's view is than about the legitimacy of his claims about Huang. The author is a perfect symbol of the cult of personality in the ADD-24 hour media barrage American society of today. He knows how to hustle, he knows how to present himself and get maximum exposure, and he knows how the Twitter-Facebook-sound bite generation likes its celebrities; empty headed bimbos who'll do anything to be famous...or infamous. He's a foodie celebrity for the Jersey Shore, YouTube, reality TV, and notoriety-at-all-cost crowd. If his autobiography sounds like a book for you, have at it. I like to read about people with a bit more substance than hype, and Huang is nearly all hype. I respect what Huang has done and for what it's worth, he seems like a funny guy who'd be fun to have a few pijiu with. I have no doubt that Eddie Huang will continue to be successful because he has the drive and the requisite rage to push himself to prove everyone else wrong. That doesn't automatically translate to a story that holds my interest over nearly three hundred pages. This would've better made a magazine profile.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amar Pai

    This book reminds me of L. A. Son , by Roy Choi (of Korean taco truck fame). Both memoirs feature tormented Asian-American juvenile delinquents who turn out to be genius chefs. But unlike L.A. Son, which doubled as a lavishly illustrated cook book, Fresh off the Boat is just straight up text. The depiction of food isn't nearly as as vivid. Also, Choi is much more of a bad ass than Huang, yet he doesn't try as hard to come off like one. Huang's gangsta bravado stretches kind of thin after a whil This book reminds me of L. A. Son , by Roy Choi (of Korean taco truck fame). Both memoirs feature tormented Asian-American juvenile delinquents who turn out to be genius chefs. But unlike L.A. Son, which doubled as a lavishly illustrated cook book, Fresh off the Boat is just straight up text. The depiction of food isn't nearly as as vivid. Also, Choi is much more of a bad ass than Huang, yet he doesn't try as hard to come off like one. Huang's gangsta bravado stretches kind of thin after a while, esp. given that his parents are rich and he enrolls in law school. Finally, Choi's stories of degenerate gambling, drug use and jewelry dealing are just more interesting. Not that it has to be one or the other. Go ahead and cop both books, cos the cause of Asian-American juvenile-delinquents-turned-genius-chefs is a cause worth supporting. But I can't help wishing it were L.A. Son being made into a TV show instead.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Everyday eBook

    While inspiration often comes from within, Eddie Huang's new memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, reminds us that it also comes in the form of a chubby Taiwanese high schooler from Florida, hell-bent on proving his mettle. Before the famed restaurateur and vocal vlogger for VICE magazine made it big, he was a "midget Chinaman" standing five-foot-four on a football field, facing down a hulking defensive end named Kwame. Whenever "hike!" was called, young Eddie got pummeled. But Huang explains how each day While inspiration often comes from within, Eddie Huang's new memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, reminds us that it also comes in the form of a chubby Taiwanese high schooler from Florida, hell-bent on proving his mettle. Before the famed restaurateur and vocal vlogger for VICE magazine made it big, he was a "midget Chinaman" standing five-foot-four on a football field, facing down a hulking defensive end named Kwame. Whenever "hike!" was called, young Eddie got pummeled. But Huang explains how each day during practice he would dig his heels in deeper, working so hard he'd vomit by whistle's end. Only a few months later, Eddie's name was being chanted by his teammates like a Taiwanese remake of "Rudy," the scene climaxing when Coach Rock put him into a game, one in which he helped lead his team to victory. Today, Eddie Huang's name is still being chanted, this time by restaurant critics dying to get their hands on his gua bao at New York City's Baohaus. He's also still digging his heels into the ground, transferring his grit on the grass to his professional demeanor. But while his style defies a simple explanation, what is gleaned from his memoir is the fire of resilience that simmers within. Fresh Off the Boat is riddled with real-life roadblocks built to hamper the strongest of men -- a manic mother, an abusive ex-gangster father, and minority status taped like a "kick me" sign to his back. Yet at each turn Eddie emerges hardened and resolved. Huang's memoir reveals both heart and hood as he refashions every conventional setback in his life into a step forward. All of this is put forth without pretense. The memoir demands at the outset that you either accept his flaws or clear out of the kitchen. The slang and irreverent style of writing Eddie employs is at first disarming. But chewing through his chummy vernacular, the "yo!'s," "bro!'s," and "shit son!'s" begin to take on a charm of their own. So comfortably conversational are the opening pages you might as well be kicking it with Huang in the flesh, jamming to Tupac tapes and claiming some urban turf of your own. To the foodies out there, pay heed. Eddie's references to food are spontaneous, not forced. Don't expect a recipe on every page. Instead, the savory morsels of this memoir are masterfully interlaced with his stories of immigration and upbringing. And let's be frank: Does the genre "food memoir" even exist? This is a tale of immigration. It's a blueprint of American entrepreneurialism. It's a coming-of-age saga and a family narrative drenched in dysfunction. By writing about all that, Huang proves that food, instead of being showmanship, is a social expression; it's something that assists -- rather than consumes -- our everyday lives. He understands the implicit nature of food better than almost any chef today. "Food at its best uplifts the whole community," he writes. It "makes everyone rise to its standard." Inspiration doesn't get any iller than that. Head to www.EverydayeBook.com for more eBook reviews

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    "Cot damn", "shawties", hating "whiteness", smoking weed, "hip hop culture", sneakers, real Chinese food... there you have it, you are now caught up on this book without having to read the 272 pages of it. Every book has an audience, and this book was not made for me. I picked up this book because I think the TV show is hilarious and I wanted to see the full story behind it. This book and the TV show are completely different entities, and makes me love the TV show more. I'm glad they did not mak "Cot damn", "shawties", hating "whiteness", smoking weed, "hip hop culture", sneakers, real Chinese food... there you have it, you are now caught up on this book without having to read the 272 pages of it. Every book has an audience, and this book was not made for me. I picked up this book because I think the TV show is hilarious and I wanted to see the full story behind it. This book and the TV show are completely different entities, and makes me love the TV show more. I'm glad they did not make an accurate adaptation of this book. I think people who like to read about whiners and self-destructive individuals would enjoy this book. I just could not get past the fact that a man over 30 refers to women as "shawties" and boasts about his hoodlum lifestyle which he created for himself. He comes from a family of millionaires so spare me your "poor, ghetto, violent" past. I have no respect for people who think that lifestyle is entertaining and actively seek it, while people who have to live it, struggle to get out. I give all my respect to the people who are dealt a bad hand and are born into a life of real problems and struggles. They do what they have to in order to survive, and they have all my respect. 1/5

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Eddie Huang's memoir of life with his family as he experiences American culture and defies stereotypes is comedic, inspirational and an honest look at a life of crossing cultural barriers and about building a life for yourself and being whoever you want to be. Huang's got a great sense of the humor genre and if you like memoirs as well, this is definite a book you should read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kim Flowers

    As I mentioned in an earlier comment, this is the first memoir I've read by someone my own age. I'm not sure I was going on the intended journey sometimes because I ended up reliving some of my own childhood through the pop culture mentioned: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Jordan and Barkley and Shaq! Super Nintendo and WWF! I knew the author of this book was close to my age well before it was officially confirmed in the book that he was born one year after me. So that was my first mind-blowing e As I mentioned in an earlier comment, this is the first memoir I've read by someone my own age. I'm not sure I was going on the intended journey sometimes because I ended up reliving some of my own childhood through the pop culture mentioned: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Jordan and Barkley and Shaq! Super Nintendo and WWF! I knew the author of this book was close to my age well before it was officially confirmed in the book that he was born one year after me. So that was my first mind-blowing experience. I love to read all kinds of books . . . the last memoir I read was "The Measure of a Man" by Sidney Poitier, and all the other memoirs I've read are about people older than I am. In "Fresh Off the Boat" I know I was supposed to be thinking about how different my life was from this boy who grew up with immigrant parents, but instead I was relating. Sorry about that. But then again, I am a white lesbian from Indiana. So I don't know what it's like to come from FOB parents, I went to a 99 per cent white school, and I didn't realize hip hop was downward assimilation and alt. rock was upward. (OK, maybe Modest Mouse, but some of the stuff I listen to makes me think they are two sides of the same coin.) I am not like a lot of the racist backwards ****** in my state, and going to a small hick school and hiding in a corner so no one would find out I was gay did give me that experience of being one of the Outsiders, even if it was for different reasons than the author lived. I could not put this book down. I was immediately captivated on the first page. I am not a foodie, but before my dad died he won some local and state competitions. (He did many things in his life, and his final career was as a chainsaw woodcarver.) I'm the only one in my family who didn't learn how to cook from him: I guess I thought I would be a rebel. I am a writer, and a reader, and the mark of another good writer is someone who can tell a good story that captivates you from beginning to end, even if the subject matter is something you don't usually read about. This book fits in that category. The only part I had trouble relating to is when the author still had rebellion problems after his parents revealed they had money and bought a fancy house. My parents never had much money, so it's really hard for me to fight the mindset that if you do have money, your problems are solved. In my late teenage years and early 20s I partied, but we sat on our roofs, walked around town, or rode around in Cavaliers . . . we weren't on any boats or in Mercedes! But still, growing up in this country when you are "different", with or without money, is a struggle that some can't make it out of with the same perspective, sense of humor, intelligence, and drive as Eddie Huang apparently did. Eddie really went on a journey to find himself, both mentally, physically, and internationally. You can't help but root for him in this book, and if you're what he calls a rotten banana who resists the conditioning of your race, family, or whatever group in your life that is trying to make you into something you're not, you'll cheer for Eddie, too. He's become the kind of restaurant owner and boss that will be a success; I've worked in several restaurants myself, and it really made me happy that he said he realized the people who work for him are mostly aspiring artists who will eventually move on. I am starting to make it in my writing life and today I accept myself for who I am, even though I deal with ignorance every day. Not just because of being gay, but because I can't stand the racist hilljacks I live around. I have black people in my family, and I write books and short stories that include all kinds of diverse characters and in my world that is just how things are, and I really believe that especially with this last election (and Eddie I saw Obama's first speech way back in 04 and knew he was special back then) our country is moving forward. Someday memoirs like Eddie Huang's will show people just how ridiculous the ongoing racism and unaccaptance used to be, but we keep rising above it every day. Food is an ongoing theme in this book; Eddie is talented at many things, and I don't believe he's finished with his life experiments yet, but you can tell that he has a special fondness and ability with food. I couldn't understand the passion until he compared a food dish he tried for the first time to listening to Lauryn Hill sing "Killing Me Softly." Stellar.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    4.5 Eddie Huang wants you to know this is not a food memoir. Its a memoir about race, identity, growing up in America as an immigrant, fitting in, pushing (and disregarding) boundaries, family, work, friends, school, life in general, and maybe a little bit about food. I listened to this on audiobook which I highly recommend because Eddie Huang’s narration is incredibly conversational - in fact, many times throughout the audiobook you can just hear him cracking up at his own stories. His personal 4.5 Eddie Huang wants you to know this is not a food memoir. Its a memoir about race, identity, growing up in America as an immigrant, fitting in, pushing (and disregarding) boundaries, family, work, friends, school, life in general, and maybe a little bit about food. I listened to this on audiobook which I highly recommend because Eddie Huang’s narration is incredibly conversational - in fact, many times throughout the audiobook you can just hear him cracking up at his own stories. His personality, voice and perspective isn’t going to be for everyone - for one, he doesn’t shy away from expletives. He’s upfront, self-aware, unapologetic and even a lil’ bit brash at times, but I really admire him for that. Nothing he says or thinks goes without some sort of justification or reasoning. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this read/ listen. Funny, insightful, familiar and truthful. He really spoke to me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This isn't a chef memoir, let me just say that right off the bat. Eddie Huang is so much more than a food person. This is the story of how a child born to Taiwanese immigrants makes a life for himself. It is a coming of age story more than anything else. Eddie is only 30, and has seen one restaurant fail and one be an immediate hit. He has worked as a furniture salesman, a drug dealer, a lawyer, and a stand-up comic. I enjoyed the story, especially read by the author himself. I didn't always ide This isn't a chef memoir, let me just say that right off the bat. Eddie Huang is so much more than a food person. This is the story of how a child born to Taiwanese immigrants makes a life for himself. It is a coming of age story more than anything else. Eddie is only 30, and has seen one restaurant fail and one be an immediate hit. He has worked as a furniture salesman, a drug dealer, a lawyer, and a stand-up comic. I enjoyed the story, especially read by the author himself. I didn't always identify with him, and would be completely intimidated by him, but I still think I'd probably enjoy his food. Who wouldn't be intrigued by a man who values stinky tofu? He does talk about food throughout the book, it just isn't a central theme the way you might expect. One sentence stuck in my head, where he describes good food as having "detail, attention, and restraint." In some ways it is ironic, because he believes in that style for his food, but not for his life; never for his life. You can get a sense of his writing style in this Salon.com article about his Dad, and a sense of how he is viewed by others in this Time Magazine article. You can follow his internal dialogue in Twitter, or watch his show on Vice, also called Fresh Off the Boat. I'm recommending all these things because you won't be able to read the book until the end of January. But keep your eye on Eddie. Considering what he has accomplished so far, I'm not sure he'll decide just to stay a restauranteur his whole life. ETA: You should watch this video of Eddie in Taiwan... I linked it at 3:00 where it starts talking about food, but you can watch the whole thing to watch him take uniquely Taiwanese drugs. :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ana Rînceanu

    Three hour passed by so fast and this book was done. Upside: it was earnest, interesting, informative and really funny. Downside: I am now really, really hungry for food, my own culture and life! P.S: those may not be so bad after all...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Being from the northern plains (fly-over country to those from the coasts), I was not aware of Eddie Huang or his Baohous restaurant prior to reading his memoir. Now I wish I lived closer to New York City so that I could taste a sample of his signature bao. I did know what they were (Taiwanese/Chinese meat in a bun) before reading the book, and his sound scrumptious. Eddie Huang is the son of Taiwanese immigrants who struggled as many do to acclimatize and succeed in the United States. His father Being from the northern plains (fly-over country to those from the coasts), I was not aware of Eddie Huang or his Baohous restaurant prior to reading his memoir. Now I wish I lived closer to New York City so that I could taste a sample of his signature bao. I did know what they were (Taiwanese/Chinese meat in a bun) before reading the book, and his sound scrumptious. Eddie Huang is the son of Taiwanese immigrants who struggled as many do to acclimatize and succeed in the United States. His father eventually put together enough capital to open and steakhouse and the family (parents and three sons) moved rapidly from poverty to wealth in Orlando, Florida. In the book Eddie describes the difficulties he had trying to find a way to fit in - a Chinese boy with a love of hip-hop and Taiwanese food. Eddie spent his teen years trying to live the gangsta lifestyle which eventually got him into trouble with the law. His parents sent him back to Taiwan to try to get his act together. Eddie Huang is a very smart guy - both street smart and book smart. He learned from his past, went on to college and then to law school, making his father very proud by passing the bar exam on the first try. All set for life, escept that Eddie hated the legal life. He wanted to open a restaurant that would fill both a hip-hop need and a desire for authentic Taiwanese food. So with encouragement from such Food Network notables as Guy Fieri ("Diners, Drive-ins and Dives")and Anthoy Bourdain ("No Reservations")who he met through a cooking contest, Eddie moved ahead with his passion. It was an instant success and seems to be going well. He also writes a food blog and has several videos on his website that document much of what he has written in the book. I enjoyed the book immensely. I found Eddie to be a fascinating character. However, readers should be forewarned; Eddie writes with passion and street language, so there are words and phrases that are both unfamiliar to those who don't get into hip-hop and many words that would be generally called gutter language. Nonetheless, I would happily recommend "Fresh Off the Boat" and wish Eddie Huang continued success.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    So, growing up, my proper Asian parents wouldn't have let me anywhere near a troublemaker like Eddie Huang. Heck, back then, I wouldn't have wanted to go near an Eddie Huang either. After all, between the ages of nine and twenty-two, I was doing my best to fit into the good Chinese kid stereotype that Huang eviscerates. I only sort-of succeeded in being the model minority, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I really liked this book. Hip hop? Street fights? An Asian dad PROUD his kid got arr So, growing up, my proper Asian parents wouldn't have let me anywhere near a troublemaker like Eddie Huang. Heck, back then, I wouldn't have wanted to go near an Eddie Huang either. After all, between the ages of nine and twenty-two, I was doing my best to fit into the good Chinese kid stereotype that Huang eviscerates. I only sort-of succeeded in being the model minority, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I really liked this book. Hip hop? Street fights? An Asian dad PROUD his kid got arrested for violence? Talk about an unusual Asian American memoir! Anyway, as different as our childhoods were (I did not grow up in America, for one), I found myself nodding at some shared experiences - I understand what some readers will criticize as Huang's contradictory views on his Chineseness in a Western country. (On one hand hating "whiteness" and dissing those Chinese kids who lose their culture; on the other hand calling people FOBs and Uncle Chans and feeling a sense of - superiority? - when making out with a white/non-Chinese person). My only beef is that if some of the passages in this memoir had been written by a Chinese female, she'd probably be more likely to be thought of as a self-hating race-traitor instead of just experiencing the normal cultural conflict that occurs when growing up between worlds.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    This is the first memoir I've read written by someone from my generation.I'm not sure if that's why I liked it so much, or if it was just fun to read. Whatever. I thought it was fantastic. I'm not even sure why, but there's something about all those crazy stories mixed in with the parts about the food (lots of parts about food), that made this book really easy to read. It also made me hungry. I ate a lot of chinese food while reading this book, actually. I really hope Eddie Huang writes more book This is the first memoir I've read written by someone from my generation.I'm not sure if that's why I liked it so much, or if it was just fun to read. Whatever. I thought it was fantastic. I'm not even sure why, but there's something about all those crazy stories mixed in with the parts about the food (lots of parts about food), that made this book really easy to read. It also made me hungry. I ate a lot of chinese food while reading this book, actually. I really hope Eddie Huang writes more books in the future, because his descriptions of family life are hilarious and the parts about growing up in America feeling like a "rotten banana" defying the model minority stereotype were totally candid and real. My favorite part was his trip to Taipei. Eddie Huang adds a unique voice to contemporary modern American literature, even though that may not be his intention. I feel like this is just a great story that manages to make a couple of really good points along the way. I like memoirs and chinese food, so I'm probably rather inclined to enjoy this sort of book, and if you share those tastes then you probably will as well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stevie Kincade

    Eddie Huang likes Hip Hop, sneakers, basketball and food. A lot. These are all things I enjoy as well. I heard Huang interviewed on the Joe Rogan podcast a few years ago and he had some fun stories. Then I watched the TV show "Fresh off the boat" based on his memoir. Now I've finally gotten around to listening to the audiobook, read by Eddie Huang. I enjoyed this book a lot. Huang has plenty of entertaining stories for a 30 year old. He made some interesting points on race and cultural appropriat Eddie Huang likes Hip Hop, sneakers, basketball and food. A lot. These are all things I enjoy as well. I heard Huang interviewed on the Joe Rogan podcast a few years ago and he had some fun stories. Then I watched the TV show "Fresh off the boat" based on his memoir. Now I've finally gotten around to listening to the audiobook, read by Eddie Huang. I enjoyed this book a lot. Huang has plenty of entertaining stories for a 30 year old. He made some interesting points on race and cultural appropriation. The stories about his parents were particularly funny since I could imagine them so vividly based off of their characterisations on the show. For reasons I will outline below not a lot of the stories from the book made the show, instead the show took these comedic characters and setting as described in the memoir and ran with them. The major change in the show is that there Eddie's Dad is a lovable dork. In the book Eddie's Dad is a lovable dork who ran gangs on the streets of Taiwan, got in knife fights and owned a GAT. As much as I was entertained by "Fresh of the Boat" there were some things that bothered me about it as well. Firstly, almost all of the stories from Eddie's childhood involve violence and how he "bucked the stereotype" of a mild mannered Asian boy by laying the smackdown on anyone who disrespected him. The tone when describing these stories of senseless violence isn't repentant at all. It is completely boastful and evolves from "dumb shit kids do" into cruel and dangerous criminality which Eddie seems to wear like a badge of honour of how "real" he is. There is a certain charm to Eddie's constant hip hop slang...at first. Then you realise this cat be wylin so hard trying to get his mofuggin shine on, trying to pimp himself out like Puffy in 97 so hard and so often even Ali G would be like "mofo you stuntin wiv all dat G talk". Eddie doesn't jump into a car he gets in a "whip". No one can be scared they "shook" it all feels pretty needless and manufactured. I understand Eddie has his identity tied up in Hip hop culture but at some point it is hard not to feel all this G talk is as fugazi as white kids wearing street wear they bought on Karmaloop. There is something hypocritical about his criticism of everyone from David Chang for his pork buns, to Jersey kids wearing street brands, to "Uncle Chan" Asians when Eddie appropriates culture himself and seeks approval just as shamelessly as those he calls out. Overall this was still an interesting, inspiring and thought provoking memoir.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sherri F.

    Memoirs are always hard to rate for me & this one is no exception. Some I liked & some I didn't. It's no literary masterpiece and Eddie did not and would not have any intention of doing so b/c it's his way or the highway, as with pretty much everything in his life. This book is probably geared to and more appreciated by a younger reader (which I am not). Also, if readers look at the above cover (pink cover w/Eddie's family & "Now A Series on ABC" on) and watched some or all of the ep Memoirs are always hard to rate for me & this one is no exception. Some I liked & some I didn't. It's no literary masterpiece and Eddie did not and would not have any intention of doing so b/c it's his way or the highway, as with pretty much everything in his life. This book is probably geared to and more appreciated by a younger reader (which I am not). Also, if readers look at the above cover (pink cover w/Eddie's family & "Now A Series on ABC" on) and watched some or all of the episodes for the season this show of the same name was on air AND you expect this to be the same or even similar, you will be most likely disappointed b/c it's not "As Seen on TV" (like some products w/same logo). Despite having many positive experiences and opportunities in his life in addition to the sad, terrible and/or unfortunate, Mr. Huang comes across pretty much throughout very angry and mostly highlighting the negative, as well as glorifying beating people up, rebelling in every school attended (numerous), using and hustling, etc. in the name of doing it his way.

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