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Off the Menu

by Christine Son

      Christine Son's first novel is the story of three young Asian-American women who are best friends, brought together when they all attended Layola University. Whitney Lee is a lawyer at the prestigious law firm of Boerne and Connelly. Hercules Huang is the owner of the Dragonfly restaurant. Audrey Henley is a first grade teacher of gifted children. All three now live and work in Houston. All three were co-valedictorians of their class because they had identical grades.

The three of them now meet once a month to eat dinner at the Dragonfly and brag about their accomplishments. But they have never truly opened up to each other. Each harbors a secret they feel the others wouldn't understand.

Whitney is an associate attorney at Boerne and Connelly. She is in line for a partnership. But her dream of success is not as a lawyer, but as a singer. She has performed in a couple of clubs, but no one but her boyfriend knows it, not even her parents and brother.

Hercules Huang owns one restaurant and is building a second. She has her own line of cookware coming out soon. But she secretly wishes she could please her overly critical father.

Audrey Henley is, like Whitney, of Korean parentage. Unlike Whitney, however, Audrey was adopted by wealthy, white, American parents. She wishes, secretly, that she could be a college professor. She also secretly wishes her parents would accept her boyfriend, Victor, and that she could learn more about her Korean heritage. But, until they learn to trust each other none will achieve her dream.

Off the Menu is well written with believable characters. It contains details about Chinese and Korean cultures from those who live in them. It also tells what it's like to be Asian in America. It doesn't have a lot of soap opera situations that are all too predictable, but the end is satisfying. If you enjoy this kind of story, you'll love Off the Menu.

The Book

New American Library
August 2008
General Fiction
More at
NOTE: Contains profanity, sex

The Reviewer

Jo Rogers
Reviewed 2008
© 2008