Dial A For Aunties - Review
It's been some time since I read this title, and after reading a few reviews, I'm slowly starting to remember why I didn't write the review fast enough. Shame on me for not putting pen to pad once I completed it AND for not taking notes throughout my read. I'm using my rare power of reading identic memory and scenes from the movie Turning Red to help me with this review. Please. Don't judge me.
"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 inadvertently 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 the 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 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?"
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto is supposed to be this explosive comedic, family-oriented, murder-romance-mystery that was supposed to be the talk of the town in 2021. And I guess it was, but I can't say I was one of the people talking about it. It wasn't bad perse, but calling it "one of my most anticipated reads of the year" knocked me off my pedestal with a wrecking ball. Many nonsensical things were going on throughout the story that made me want to put the book down, but some cute scenes made me feel like Kombucha Girl that made it all worth it in the end.
I couldn't tell if it was a cozy mystery or an Asian culture satire. However, one thing that aggravated me was how stereotypical the book was. It was to the point where I felt it was ammunition for those people who were too ready to blame the Asians for Coronavirus. I loosely remember reading something where the author explained that she purposely wrote the story and the characters this way, not to create a more prejudiced standpoint against Asians, but because this is how they are in the most genuine way possible. I'm not sure if this took well in its reception, but do not quote me. Google is my friend, and I am not using it right now.
I did like the side plot dealing with the romance. I think it was cute. Girl and boy are college sweethearts, life-changing plans were mentioned, and one of them got cold feet. Years later, they run into each other and try to piece together what they had in the middle of all this current chaos. To be honest, if I were a writer, I'd read that story. I should break out a Meddy and Nathan fan fic Reddit.
Now let's talk about the Aunties. The best way I can describe them is they are all of the Aunties from the Disney movie Turning Red. Yes. The reference was coming. Cue in the music from 4*Town.
They are meddling, adolescent-like, bickering family members that will annoy the shit out of you, but you can't help but love them because hey! What are family for? Especially ones that help you cover up a murder. You keep those members around. Even if they're trying to play matchmaker while the hidden body is sitting on ice 2 feet away from them, KEEP. THOSE. MEMBERS. AROUND.
Overall I rated this book 3-stars. It was an okay book that wasn't meant for me. I wasn't in love with the story or the characters, but that romance section saved it from a DNF for me. My interest in their relationship may even take me to the sequel, Four Aunties and a Wedding. I think my biggest issue was that I could not categorize the book. It would confuse you too if you thought you were picking up a mystery and got social soap opera instead. If you read this book, I advise you to go into it unsuspectingly. Don't even read the synopsis (as I copy and paste the summary above); just dive right in. It's the only way to expect the unexpected while reading Dial A For Aunties.