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A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

A Pho Love Story (original 2021; edition 2021)

by Loan Le (Author)

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322677,180 (3.53)6
Showing 6 of 6
I really enjoyed this book, especially since I listened to the audiobook as I read along with the ARC. Definitely a modern day R&J with a twist at the end. Listening to the audiobook helped with the pronunciation of all the Vietnamese vocabulary. Thankfully the author would include context clues after to help the reader understand and follow along with the story. The line that stood out the most to me was "Where does the line between what I want and what our parents want end?" I know that this will resonate with all readers. How do you please your parents while ensuring that you follow your own path. ( )
  Z_Brarian | Dec 12, 2022 |
this really picked up for me after the first 2/3 or so. before that it was ok, nothing special (except for the representation, which i loved). but once the story became about more than just a restaurant rivalry, it was so much more interesting to me. it didn't end with that being as big or dramatic as i expected, but it at least made it more dimensional for me. still, it is great to have this robust (not just the characters and their history, but a lot of the language and culture) representation in a book, so for that it's worth it to read. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Dec 1, 2022 |
Bao and Linh's families not only have competing Vietnamese restaurants right across the street from one another, but they also seem to hate each other passionately. When Bao comes to Linh's rescue during their annual Pho day and helps serve the food at her family's restaurant, Linh starts to see that there might be more to Bao and his parents than she had been told by her mother and father. In the meantime, Linh has been lying to her family about how she spends her time after school because they don't understand her desire to pursue a career in art. At the same time, Bao's family would just like for him to decide on something that he will do with his life.

A Pho Love Story provides a very good look into Vietnamese culture and ancestral values. Many traditional dishes are described as they are prepared and served in the story. In addition, the everyday lives of Vietnamese-American citizens in the US are profiled, which also includes different ways prejudice causes suffering in communities where Vietnamese-American citizens live. The weakest part of this book is the romance between Bao and Linh. They are very likable characters and are extremely nice, but the conflict between them is almost nonexistent. The supporting characters in this story, however, are fun and quirky, making them the most interesting part of the book. Overall, A Pho Love Story provides a fascinating look into Vietnamese culture but leaves the audience wanting more in the way of romance. ( )
  ftbooklover | Oct 12, 2021 |
Narrated by Vyvy Nguyen and Ryan Do. A Romeo and Juliet story set in competing Vietnamese restaurants. Bao and Linh are almost opposite in temperament and drive but they understand what it's like to grow up in the restaurant business. A school newspaper assignment brings them together and soon they are spending time in each other's company, although with the spectre of angry Vietnamese mothers hanging over them. The two families' conflict is rooted in a complex personal history back home in Vietnam. Readers will better appreciate the plight of Vietnamese refugees and their hard-working lives in America for the benefit of their children. Nguyen and Do's narration and bilingual skills make a credible and authentic performance. They bring the Vietnamese community portrayed to vivid life. (Although Do's sometimes rapid delivery meant a slithering past of phrases that I would have to rewind back.) A light, multicultural romance for older middle school and up. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Jul 15, 2021 |
I loved the idea of two teenaged people, Bao and Linh, whose parents each respectively own pho restaurants that are competitors. But it goes much more than that: while the two have gone out of their way to avoid each other, their families appear to have an animosity that goes much deeper than a business competition. But these are our two protagonists who meet, sparks fly, and they find out the complicated histories and contexts for why the two families don't get along.

It sounded like a great concept. While the very basics are not new (business rivals, in this case restaurants have two kids who end up in a romantic relationship but it gets complicated because history and all that), I adored the idea that it was set between two competing pho restaurants and trying to find happiness despite the weight of history (actual history, family history, etc.). It seemed like a lot of fun!

Unfortunately it's not. Like many others, the book is far too long. It takes far too long to really get going. And it also uses a trope I don't particularly like, alternating viewpoints. Sometimes it worked in the shorter chapters but this isn't a device I am very fond of.

I will note that it was good that this is set for a specific community and it shows (discussions of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese in the text with no translation, etc.) so I'm sure and I'm glad that there will be those who will see themselves, their families and/or someone they know in these pages. And I'd actually read other stuff by the author, it's just that this needed better editing.

Library borrow and that was best for me. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Mar 24, 2021 |
With their parents locked in a long standing feud, there’s a forbidden romance aspect to this one and while I did think Linh and Bao were sweet together, for me, the romance ended up being the least interesting part of the book.

I loved that family played such a significant role, that we get to know the parents, learn about their journeys from Vietnam, their immigrant experiences in America, and what ignited the feud. I particularly liked Linh and Bao’s relationships with their moms, there’s believable tension there but warmth, too.

If you aren’t interested in reading about food this might not be the book for you, food is mentioned a lot, but I thought all those mentions worked so well with the story, it very much added to the sense of place and culture.

By far though, my favorite thing about A Pho Love Story was Linh’s art. I’m always disappointed when a book tells you a character has a talent or a passion for something yet fails to really show you that talent or passion in action. Here the author does such a fantastic job of inviting the reader into Linh’s creativity, describing her work, her process, the intense concentration she puts into it and what it does for her emotionally. I found those scenes thoroughly engaging, they had me very much invested in the question of whether not Linh would follow her heart or obey her well-intentioned parents. ( )
  SJGirl | Feb 22, 2021 |
Showing 6 of 6

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