The Wangs Vs. the World

The Wangs Vs. the World

Book - 2016
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The Wangs vs. the World is an outrageously funny tale about a wealthy Chinese-American family that "loses it all, then takes a healing, uproarious road trip across the United States" ( Entertainment Weekly ). Their spectacular fall from riches to rags brings the Wangs together in a way money never could. It's an epic family saga and an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
ISBN: 9780544734098
0544734092
Branch Call Number: CHANG J
Characteristics: 354 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Wangs versus the world

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Enjoy a coming of age road trip with humor and heart!


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hillaryblair
Mar 02, 2021

Hard to get into and easy to put down. This is a very character-driven book. Not much in the way of plot as the author returns to the lives of the characters prior to their downfall (family history, relationships, etc. are all explored) more often than not. There are some funny moments and some redeeming points for each character, but the characters seemed to lack any moral compass especially Saina and the parents. Slightly disappointing.

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mini_moon_pie
May 04, 2020

Couldn't empathize or sympathize with any of the characters because the felt more like paper dolls being walked about the page. For a road trip novel, there isn't much about the experience of road tripping, either. I didn't enjoy this book.

k
kawidman
Dec 05, 2019

A road trip book! A family drama! A rumination on a particular immigration narrative! I enjoyed Chang’s writing a lot; she has a knack for lovely description and vivid characters. The family dynamic was fantastic and I look forward to reading more of Chang’s work in the future.

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StarGladiator
Jan 09, 2019

An excellent and entertaining read from a new author, Jade Chung.
[The author is no expert in forensic finance and in the acknowledgements thanks John Lanchester, Felix Salmon and Matt Taibbi - - I agree with the nod to Taibbi, but the other two did crap jobs of it. The onus on David X. Li's formula [a variant of the Gaussian copula applied to possible - - never proven that I'm aware - - correlation of securities, i.e., credit derivatives] is a massive red herring and misdirection, although a most important point was mentioned in the referenced Wired story: that an UNLIMITED number of CDSes {credit default swaps, a subset of credit derivatives} could be purchased against credit derivatives such as CDOs, et cetera. When an UNLIMITED number of unregulated insurance can be purchased - - by both connected and unconnected parties - - you have structured financial fraud!
Add to that the fact that an UNLIMITED number of commodity futures can be purchased [virtual trading via DTCC] and you have an extraordinary platform for mass global financial manipulation and fraud. Suggesting Li's formula was pertinent ignores the lobbying of banks to the Clinton Administration to add the international acceptance of credit derivatives to the WTO's Financial Services Agreement; ignores the banks - - working through Covington and Burling - - to establish MERSCorp and their MERS - - Mortgage Electronic Reporting System, responsible for zapping out all those mortgages for the CDOs {a subset of credit derivatives}; ignores that the banks and Goldman Sachs founded the Markit Group to value their credit derivatives; ignores that the banks and oil companies founded the InterContinental Exchange where they could do all that international speculation of commodity futures and derivatives, et cetera - - and today ICE owns MERSCorp, along with the NYSE and other choice properties, and is responsible for setting LIBOR rates.
AND, the top banks control 92% to 93% of the credit derivatives.]
QUOTE: Seek truth in facts. - - - - - Deng Xiao Ping

s
shayshortt
Dec 14, 2018

While the crasser side of Chang’s brand of humour wasn’t especially my thing, I think she has mastered the depiction of dysfunctional family dynamics, as well as the road trip narrative, and used the two together to reflect on the immigrant story in a new way, through the lens of the financial crisis. However, I enjoyed the more situational aspects of Chang’s sense of humour, and the odd predicaments the Wangs ended up in as a result, despite my reservations about how she handled Andrew’s story.

Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2018/12/13/the-wangs-vs-the-world/

g
gens_
Apr 10, 2018

This book kicked so much ass. I loved it from start to finish. It was heartbreaking, hilarious and perfect. Definitely worth picking up.

m
mrsbarker
Nov 30, 2017

It took me a while to warm up to the eccentric Wang family but I've just finished the book and I have tears in my eyes. What a beautifully written story of family. I may not have enjoyed this book as much if I were younger, but I'm in my 60s and I appreciate the intellect displayed in this book and the well-crafted story. Seriously, just read it. Now I want to read Ms. Chang's next book ... there is one, right?

k
kathylou
Nov 13, 2017

Hilarious? Well, kind of amusing at times. Everyone starts out clueless and after the road trip remains almost as clueless. It's funny/sad the observations and choices that the Wang family makes.

b
brangwinn
Apr 16, 2017

I’ve got mixed feelings about this story. All of the characters seems to be self-centered people. I guess money can do that to you. But I was quickly caught up in the story of the rise and fall of a Chinese immigrant in the cosmetics manufacturing business.

c
cmsclay
Jan 21, 2017

Let's see if I've got this right. A philandering father whose wife doesn't care about his cheating as long as her money, servants, and ostentatious house are secure, loses everything because he has the corporate saavy of a dried turnip. He dreams of returning to China as a feudal overlord who starves the overworked peasants working his fields. His kids are self absorbed trust fund brats who are obsessed with themselves and their sexual confusion. And we're supposed to like these characters?
The writing is jerky and disjointed as if the author was writing while doing something else at the same time.
I felt no connection or empathy to the characters or their fate. I couldn't take much more of the cliched sexual overtones (anal sex, pendulous breasts, and the size of black men's penises are mentioned in the first fifty pages). I don't think I've stopped reading a book so early after starting it in quite some time. This author may have potential after honing her craft and developing plots that are interesting and engaging as well as characters that deserve our attention.
But for now, I suggest passing on this one for something with more depth and writing skill.

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shayshortt
Dec 14, 2018

Sexual Content: Rape

s
shayshortt
Dec 14, 2018

Violence: Rape

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shayshortt
Dec 14, 2018

Charles Wang was mad at America. Actually, Charles Wang was mad at history.

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