How to Cook a Dragon by Linda Furiya is about the Japanese American author’s time she spent in China with her boyfriend Eric. She leaves behind her life in San Francisco to be with the man she loves and to finally be able to write the stories she has always wanted to write.
The story takes place in Beijing and Shanghai. It examines the life of the Chinese and how it is hard for Linda to fit into the culture of the Chinese. Many mistake her for being Chinese. She tires quickly of explaining over and over that she is Japanese. Many of the people seem disappointed when she can’t speak Mandarin when she looks so much like the locals.
Food becomes a central theme in How to Cook a Dragon. She uses food as a type of metaphor to describe her life in China. I enjoyed the recipes included at the end of every chapter. Her romantic notions of China quickly evaporate while she sees her relationship with Eric slowly fade. She left everything behind in America to be with him and he turns out to be not what she imagined him to be.
If you enjoy a memoir type book about someone’s travel abroad, you will enjoy this book. If you like to see a new country through someone’s eyes, you will enjoy this book. I found it mostly boring at times and slow to read. The first three chapters are about her relationship woes. I can understand the analysis of her thoughts while adjusting to this new culture. It may seem to be tedious at times reading the same thing over and over but in different contexts.