At 40, Kevin Lee, an almost-tennis-pro-turned-club-instructor, finds out he’s adopted when he tries to donate a kidney to his less-than-deserving widower father. The only clues to Kevin’s identity are an unfinished letter from his late mother with a nude centerfold of his birthmother.
Meanwhile, his younger sister, Judy, abandons her latest temp job, but takes a not-quite-budding office romance with her: Roger is late to their first date and dismisses a telling tattoo as a youthful mistake yet proves inexplicably devoted. Reeling from recent divorces, the siblings are, well, love-love for love. Both must leave – Kevin to San Francisco in search for his birth history, Judy to Cape Cod to recover from a rattlesnake attack – in order to figure out how to be whole.
Verdict: Woo is currently two-for-two with rollicking novels about Korean American family dysfunction starring a pair of New Jersey siblings. If Woo’s 2009 debut, Everything Asian, was charming and youthful, this new work is practically middle-aged, a biting, jaw-scraping, guffaw-inducing bit of fun complete with porn stars, rebel artists, and an aging, loyal dog who just might break your heart. Perfect for devotees of impossibly serendipitous comic fiction à la Carl Hiaasen and Tom Robbins and enhanced with multi-generational, cross-cultural depth.