Yu, Michelle

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Yu, Michelle

PERSONAL:

Education: Graduate of Manhattan College.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

On-air sports reporter.

WRITINGS:

(With Blossom Kan) China Dolls (novel), Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Michelle Yu fell in love with writing at age seven, when she received a Hello Kitty journal and began recording every detail of her daily life. One of her favorite topics became tennis, which she began learning to play at age eight. Each night, she wrote about her tennis camp victories and dreamed of winning at Wimbledon. Though she did not become a professional athlete, Yu did make sports her career—as a sports reporter on television. She also realized her ambition to become a writer, penning, with Blossom Kan, the well-received novel China Dolls.

China Dolls, which AsianConnections contributor Lia C. described as a ‘sexy and sassy twist on what it means to be multicultural in the U.S.,’ recounts the experiences of three Chinese American women in New York City: M.J., a sportswriter; Alex, an attorney; and Lin, an investment banker. Ambitious and competitive, the characters face conflicts with their more tradition-bound families while also navigating the tricky waters of romantic relationships. A writer for Kirkus Reviews felt that the novel raises interesting issues about the expectations of Chinese American families for their daughters, but fails to ‘explore these matters in any depth.’ A Publishers Weekly reviewer made a similar point, observing that Yu and Kan ‘do little more than scratch the psychological surface of their characters.’ But the reviewer added that there's ‘fun to be had’ in the book, which provides entertaining glimpses of Chinese shopping, restaurants, fortune-tellers, and the drunken antics at corporate parties. In Booklist, Kristine Huntley wrote that China Dolls depicts characters who are ‘eminently likable’ and whose adventures ‘ring true."

Many reviewers pointed out that M.J., Alex, and Lin experience joys and frustrations to which a wide range of readers can relate. ‘There's something for everyone to identify with,’ wrote Leslie L. McKee in the Romantic Times, who noted that many women face similar problems trying to find successful careers while balancing the demands of family and personal life. Kan emphasized this point in remarks quoted by Ronault Catalini in the Asian Reporter. The book, said Kan, ‘has not only been our chance to tell our stories, but also an opportunity to inspire other ethnic minorities. It's about dialogue, about opening up possibilities…. China Dolls, is a book about culture and tradition, but [there are] also the universal themes of family expectations, of our professional challenges, and of women finding themselves."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 2006, Kristine Huntley, review of China Dolls, p. 23.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2006, review of China Dolls, p. 1152.

Publishers Weekly, January 23, 2006, Michelle Kung, ‘Breaking Stereotypes,’ p. 16; October 23, 2006, review of China Dolls, p. 29.

ONLINE

Asian Connections,http://www.asianconnections.com/ (October 17, 2007), Lia C., review of China Dolls.

Asian Reporter,http://www.asianreporter.com/reviews/ (October 17, 2007), Ronault Catalini, review of China Dolls.

China Dolls Web site,http://www.chinadollsnovel.com (October 17, 2007).

Romantic Times,http://romantictimes.com/ (October 17, 2007), Leslie L. McKee, review of China Dolls.