I am beyond honored to be on this food crawl blog tour for Hungry Hearts. Each day features bloggers talking about one story that pertains to them, this is an ownvoices blog tour and I couldn’t be more grateful to be included.
From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.
A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.
Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.
Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.
Review of “The Slender One” by Caroline Tung Richmond
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I am so honored to be talking about Richmond’s story, “The Slender One” as Caroline is one of the co-editors of this amazing anthology. Hungry Hearts easily makes the list for one of my favorite anthologies ever. Before I even signed up for this blog tour, I was already apprehensive about signing up.
See I don’t think I’ve made it a secret that I am an adopted Chinese-American. Suffering from imposter syndrome, I’ve never really felt at home anywhere. Reading everyone’s heart felt reviews about growing up in these cultures, or with their family, and all I wonder is, “Is my voice valid in this space?”
And I think we see that for Charlie. The desires he has outside of his family, versus his family’s legacy. His family deals with ghosts, laying them to rest, listening to them, but Charlie doesn’t want to fall into those footsteps. Charlie’s feelings of not knowing how to reconcile the future he sees for himself, with his expectations of his family resonated with me.
How at one point, he asks, “was it so wrong for him to want to be normal” was how I felt my entire childhood. I wanted to feel like I belonged, and I would have done anything. So when I was a child, I largely erased the differences out of my life – to fit in with normal. I pretended the differences didn’t matter, but I felt it in the ways people looked at my family, or were surprised when I couldn’t use chopsticks, or always spoke Chinese to me as a child.
And I still feel that way. The ways in which there are very few people who know what it’s like to be an adopted Chinese American, to have these questions about origin, and what culture belongs to you, standing against a measuring stick on either end. As an adult, I’ve found more people who have similar experiences to me, but as a child, as Charlie’s age, all I could think about was blending in, because I didn’t know yet how to voice the differences I felt.
As Charlie’s story is one about accepting ourselves and our differences – the things that set us apart. I’m still struggling with this myself. Regretting the opportunities I passed on as a kid, and the ways I didn’t pay attention to the feelings in my gut, has become something like a wish granted which you want to snatch back. A lot of it is grappling with these decisions, the little ones, about how we feel about each other – other’s expectations of us, and more.
Even now, as I wind down on this post, I wonder if it’s good enough, valid enough, Asian enough, representative enough. If it even deserves a place among these stories. But what Charlie’s story teaches is that it’s a process of mistakes, hurdles, and our efforts to make it right, to accept ourselves for our contradictions and all.
About the Editors (And Caroline – the author of “The Slender One”)
Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, Canada, and has a degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the YA novels Dualed, Divided, Along the Indigo, and Caster as well as the MG novel All the Ways Home, and co-editor of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Hungry Hearts. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her family.
Caroline Tung Richmond is an award-winning young adult author, whose historical novels include The Only Thing to Fear, The Darkest Hour, and Live In Infamy. She’s also the co-editor of the anthology Hungry Hearts, which features stories about food and will come out in June 2019 from Simon Pulse. Her work is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.
Caroline is also the Program Director of We Need Diverse Books, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates for diversity in children’s publishing.
The prize: 2 Finished Copies of Hungry Hearts (one INTL, one US)http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f86ac49b30/? Embed Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Blog Tour Schedule
June 10th – Introduction
Vicky (Welcome + Interview)
June 11th – Karuna Riazi
June 12th – Rin Chupeco
June 13th – Jay Coles
Nikki (Review + Creative Post)
June 14th – Elsie Chapman
June 15th – Sara Farizan
June 16th – Caroline T. Richmond
June 17th – Adi Alsaid
Moon (Review + Creative Post)
June 18th – Sandhya Menon
June 19th – S. K. Ali
Mish (Review + Creative Post)
June 20th – Phoebe North
Kayla (Review + Aesthetic/Mood board)
June 21st – Rebecca Roanhorse
June 22nd – Sangu Mandanna
June 23rd – Anna-Marie McLemore
Nox (Review + Creative Post)
June 24th – Closing
CW (Review + Food Crawl)