The Blonde Bookworm: The Wangs vs. the World

The Wangs vs. the World

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Title: The Wangs vs. the World 
Author: Jade Chang
Pages: 368
Publishing: October 4th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544734092


A hilarious debut novel about a wealthy but fractured Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent—and about the road trip they take across America that binds them back together

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America—and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.


I picked up The Wangs vs. the World with a group of ladies in a book club and was truly excited about it. I  heard great things about how funny it was and how the characters make you wish you really knew them in real life. I can't say I wish I was part of the Wang crew, but I do think I would have a good time hanging out with them every once in a while. 

The Wangs had every material thing you could ask for, but it was all stripped away when Charles, the father, got in over his head with a new product line. The story followed the family as they drove cross country to live with the eldest sister in New York. I loved how the family members all had unique personalities. The youngest girl Grace, is a bratty fashion blogger, the middle child Andrew is a wanna-be stand up comedian, and the oldest daughter Saina is a jaded artist. 

Many recent reviews seem to have a problem with the fact that the characters aren't super relatable, but I don't think they're supposed to be. How many people can actually say they relate to someone who can afford an outfit that was on a runway model? No one I know. So, the fact that I couldn't relate to the rich life of the Wangs didn't bother me too much. I actually like the little glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous! 

All in all, I didn't laugh out loud like I was hoping, but I did get a few good giggles in. I typically enjoy a book with a clear cut ending, but I found the open ending of this novel to be refreshing and it allowed me to make my own conclusion. I enjoyed the entirety of The Wangs vs. the World and would definitely recommend it to friends. 

Rating 3/5


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