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Soy Sauce for Beginners by [Chen, Kirstin]
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Soy Sauce for Beginners Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Length: 261 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

“Gretchen’s journey of self-discovery forms the backbone of this story about family, tradition, and honor. Foodies will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at the world of artisanal soy sauce, while others will enjoy Chen’s tribute to her native Singapore.” —Booklist

"Kirstin Chen's debut is a delicious page-turning treat. Chen captures the zeitgeist of Singapore's new generation in an engrossing, intimately layered tale of love, family, and the discovery of one's true calling. It will also turn every reader into an artisanal soy sauce aficionado willing to settle for nothing but the best." —Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians

"Soy Sauce for Beginners is an engaging story about a young woman's journey through love and friendship, business and family as she seeks her own place in the world. A satisfying and insightful novel." —Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

"At the center of this novel is a struggling family business, but its bright heart is the difficult business of family. Written with warmth, umami and humor, Soy Sauce for Beginners considers the intricacies of inheritance and the challenges of safeguarding tradition. Kirstin Chen has written a spirited novel of self-discovery." —Amber Dermont, author of The Starboard Sea

"Kirstin Chen evokes with wonderful brio the conflicts of a family business, and of a family. Reading these vivid pages made me want to catch the next plane to Singapore. Or failing that read another absorbing chapter. A sparkling debut." —Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

About the Author

Kirstin Chen was born and raised in Singapore. A former Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she currently resides in San Francisco.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2367 KB
  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0544114396
  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing (1 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DQC9HBW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #506 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ElaineG TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book which took me a while to get into, but once I did I quite enjoyed the read. It is the story of Gretchen who returns to Singapore and the family soy sauce factory after years of living in San Francisco following the break up of her marriage. I really enjoyed reading about the factory and the history of it, as well as Singapore itself. As for the food descriptions, well they just made me hungry although I found it ironic that surrounded by all the wonderful food, Gretchen preferred to eat junk food most of the time.

It is a story of family traditions versus the modern way of life and about the choices we have to make in life. Should Gretchen stay and help run the factory which would please her father or should she return to San Francisco which would please her mother? Is there a place for her in either city? Sometimes I felt the story was just a little unnecessarily wordy, although every now and then there are some real pearls of chinese wisdom in there.

Whilst on the whole I enjoyed the read, I think I would have preferred it more if Gretchen had been a nicer person. She came across as not really wanting to get involved with anyone, even her own family, and in her own mind she could be quite scathing about her friends at times and didn't really treat any of them particularly well. For the most part the story is quite slow moving as it builds up all the background information but I did think the last couple of chapters, when Gretchen finally makes up her mind what she wants to do felt a little rushed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Many other reviewers have given a synopsis of the book which I will not repeat. It may be predictable but, actually, I didn't find it distracting. I thought it was well written and, in fact, I found the writing style reminded me of Pat Jackson's Too Long To Die (another excellent book). My only criticism is that I don't think that September is the beginning of summer in San Francisco - unless I have misread the paragraph!

A great story and I can't wait for the next book.

P.S. How about some of these fantastic recipes using soy sauce being added at the end? Just a suggestion!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
apologies for the poor punctuation, typing via kindle is not an easy feat. the book is a pleasant surprise for a kindle daily deal. perhaps being asian, chinese, lived in singapore and moving many times around the world, the book is especially poignant. while this is not an excuse to be selfish, whom has not been stuck in a static state and acted out when life throws you a curveball? and also being an avid fan of kikkoman, i understand the importance of soy sauce. i love this book and the subtle observations of daily life resonated really well with me. perhaps not to the level of introversion extraodinaire jhumpa lahiri but a fantastic debut, nevertheless. will be looking forward to the next book.
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If Gretchen was likeable it would have been more stars. I enjoyed reading about the soy sauce factory and about Singapore. Now on my bucket list. There was not a thing likeable about the main character Gretchen. She was spoilt by her parents, horrid and rude to her college room mate and best friend then bitter and jealous. Awful to her childhood best friend and ungrateful to her parents. Though she seemed to think it was everyone elses problems. How her friends even stayed around is beyond me. She was also quite rude to the new love interest and cast him in the bad light. I did like the story though....
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The descriptions of the making of soy sauce to the traditional recipe were fascinating and the story of the family dynamics which were woven around the history of the product made wonderful reading. I loved it!
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The theme was different and interesting as it gave insight into another culture. Gretch's character develops slowly as the story progresses and it is easy to feel symapthy for her. Her relationships will a variety of people are well told. The family ties in her culture are made clear asthe story progresses.
At first I thought it was going to be too light reading but changed my mind as I read on.
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About to visit Singapore I chose this book hoping it would introduce me to the delights of this small Asian country, in this respect I was disappointed but I enjoyed learning the process of producing Soy sauce and grappled with the complicated life and mind of Gretchen, disappointed in love and torn between two cultures. The story proves how difficult it can be growing up within ones own mindset.
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I wasn't really sure what I was getting when I tried a sample, but so glad I bought the full version.
At times I wanted to kick her for being so dense, but she really redeemed herself at the end, just to prove that human nature isn't written in stone and we can change if we really want to. Great book
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