Books

Book Review: Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

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I received a copy of this book in a giveaway by the publisher, HQ Stories (Harper Collins U.K.). I was not asked/obligated to review this book and all thoughts on it are my own.

Blurb

1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Blurb

Even before I won this in a giveaway by the publisher, I had a feeling that Dial A For Aunties was a book I wanted to read. I read this one after The Education of Ivy Edwards and, after crying my eyes out over a book for the first time in my life, this book provided the relief I needed.

I think pretty much all of us would do anything for a loved one and in this book, her debut, Sutanto asks the question: just how far would you go to help your family?

In this book, twenty-something wedding photographer Meddy works in her family’s business. Despite being head over heels with Nathan, the one that got away, her meddling mother and aunties set her up on a date which goes terribly, horribly wrong…just in time for the biggest wedding of the season!

I love a light, funny book and —- despite the murder element —- this book had plenty of humour. I’m glad I read this one at home as, from the first page, I couldn’t stop laughing out loud at the banter between Meddy’s Ma and the aunties and the absolutely absurd but brilliant twists and turns in the plot.

Meddy is a great main character. Although the charm of this book lies with the brilliant, constantly bickering matriarchs, I loved her as well. She was funny, frantic and — despite trying her best to make it out of the family business— it’s easy to see that there is love there, in amongst the incorrect pronunciations and bickering.

Plenty of reviewers have said how much they loved Meddy’s Ma and the aunties and I can’t help but agree. Their rivalry and bickering is funny and I loved how, in spite of it all, they came together. I was a little bit worried that Sutanto was just going to create four similar characters at odds with each other, but each woman had their own personality and quirks I couldn’t get enough of (though my favourite was Meddy’s Ma as I feel like setting me up with any obliging human male is something my own Mum is probably thinking of at this rate!).

As followers of this blog will know, I love a good romance. Despite my less than exciting experience with dating and being a complete cynic, I’m also a sucker for a love story. As with a lot of aspects of this book, the romance was unexpected but also a complete joy. I loved the flashback chapters as Meddy enjoyed her romance and flourished on her own, and I was as surprised and happy as Meddy was when she was reunited with her college love. Though I did appreciate the romance, I think it was kind of a background plot as the weirder more wonderful parts of the story took centre stage, which meant I wasn’t as into that aspect as I thought I would be.

I found the wedding itself so interesting. Not only was it hilarious to watch the girls get the body back, they had to contend with an unexpected, and slightly unnecessary, subplot at the wedding itself which — despite the fact it confused me a little — brought them all closer together. I also really liked the way Asian and Indonesian culture is explored as it is both tongue-in-cheek (see Tom Cruise Sutupo) and complex as the Chans grapple with their identity as immigrants. It added a layer of sensitivity to the book that I wasn’t expecting but throughly enjoyed.

Dial A For Aunties is a bonkers but brilliant debut. It is funny, romantic, absolutely mad but also heartwarming. I throughly enjoyed this book and I’m hoping I enjoy the upcoming Netflix adaptation just as much (you hear that, Netflix? Don’t mess it up!).

You can follow Jesse Q Sutanto on Instagram, Twitter or visit her website.

Dial A For Aunties is available to buy here.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

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