A brilliant and utterly engaging novel - Emma set in modern Asia - about a young woman's rise in the glitzy, moneyed city of Singapore, where old traditions clash with heady modern materialism.
On the edge of 27, Jazzy hatches a plan for her and her best girlfriends, Sher, Imo, and Fann. Before the year is out, these Sarong Party Girls will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh - Western expat - husbands, with Chanel babies (the cutest status symbols of all) quickly to follow.
Razor-sharp, spunky, and vulgarly brand-obsessed, Jazzy is a determined woman who doesn't lose. As she fervently pursues her quest to find a white husband, this bombastic yet tenderly vulnerable gold digger reveals the contentious gender politics and class tensions thrumming beneath the shiny exterior of Singapore's glamorous nightclubs and busy streets, its grubby wet markets and seedy hawker centers. Moving through her colorful, stratified world, she realizes she cannot ignore the troubling incongruity of new money and old-world attitudes that threaten to crush her dreams. Desperate to move up in Asia's financial and international capital, will Jazzy and her friends succeed?
Vividly told in Singlish - colorful Singaporean English, with its distinctive cadence and slang - Sarong Party Girls brilliantly captures the unique voice of this young, striving woman caught between worlds. With remarkable vibrancy and empathy, Cheryl Tan brings not only Jazzy but her city of Singapore to dazzling, dizzying life.
©2016 Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
I downloaded this book as an audiobook and the performance by Angela Lin did justice to the story. Its not a book you can compare to Emma because it is a book that stands alone and should be considered on its own merits.
I found it very interesting, because I understood the culture and the language. I think it would be a bit difficult to "get it" if you did not have some prior knowledge or experience of the way of life in Singapore in particular and Asia in general.
It was brilliantly written and very insightful although a little bit sad. If only more women felt empowered to think and value more about themselves.
Overall, recommended reading and maybe some research beforehand into the culture, you will be very entertained.
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