December 15, 2011
Terroryaki by Jennifer K. Chung
Inside the realm of too much information, you should probably know that I spent a good hour and a bit in the bath last night enjoying Jennifer K. Chung’s novel Terroryaki. And yes, this novel was the winner of the 2010 3-Day Novel Contest, which probably explains its frenetic pacing and shamelessly surfacey plotline, but it’s also about $10 cheaper than your average paperback, its smart design compact enough to fit into your back pocket, and shameless good fun. And perhaps its just the suggestion of its cover, but I came away feeling as though I’d just read a comic book without the pictures (right down to the demon showdown at the end).
Daisy’s sister’s wedding is only 3 months away, but her parents are still disapproving of her fiance for not being Asian enough, or rather for not being Asian at all. ( I enjoyed Daisy’s ever-shrieking mother, and Daisy’s description of her: “She wasn’t a Tiger Mom. She was more like a squirrel”). The family dramas are, at least, taking the heat off Daisy for her lack of drive– she works part time in a teriyaki restaurant, and is a passionless student at the community college. Certainly, Daisy does have her passions though: art and food (and food blogging). She becomes obsessed with a food truck she begins to spot around town with a skull and crossbones painted on it, and the promise, “The Best Teriyaki in Seattle.” The teriyaki is indeed delicious, but the truck has a ghostly aura. It keeps appearing and disappearing mysteriously, and it soon becomes clear that something sinister is afoot (possibly connected with Daisy’s sister’s Fascist wedding planner).
It’s rare to read a novel about a blogger, and Chung has done well in incorporating Daisy’s blog posts into the text, adding an additional layer of meaning. The other thing about Terroryaki was that it was all about food, and so evocatively so that the book left me starving, which, being in the bathtub, I could really do very little about. But apart from this complaint, I liked the book completely.