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Joan Is Okay
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
25 posts | 23 read | 30 to read
A witty, moving, piercingly insightful new novel about a marvelously complicated woman who can't be anyone but herself, from the award-winning author of Chemistry Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations. Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, her parents moved back to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland. But when Joan's father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined. Deceptively spare yet quietly powerful, laced with sharp humor, Joan Is Okay touches on matters that feel deeply resonant: being Chinese-American right now; working in medicine at a high-stakes time; finding one's voice within a dominant culture; being a woman in a male-dominated workplace; and staying independent within a tight-knit family. But above all, it's a portrait of one remarkable woman so surprising that you can't get her out of your head.
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review
HeatherBookNerd
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Joan has such a unique voice and experience. I loved her. She and her brother are children of Chinese immigrants, having opportunities never possible for their parents in America. Once the kids reached adulthood, Joan‘s parents returned to China. Now in her mid 30s, Joan is struggling to understand her relationship with her family, her place in society as a single, childless-by-choice doctor, and what it means to be Chinese in America. Very good.

ShyBookOwl Ooh. Sounds like a good rec for #alphabetgame (which is on J today!) 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thank you for playing! 2mo
38 likes1 stack add2 comments
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dylanisreading
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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I've begun my #BookerPrize22 reading with Booth and picked up the tagged book during a library browse over the weekend. It's the dark horse of my recent reading. The understated writing, the bitingly dry humor, Joan herself. I'm surprised I haven't seen more talk about it on here.

#dogsoflitsy

Ruthiella I loved Fowler‘s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves but was less impressed with The Jane Austen Book Club. Booth will be the tie breaker! 2mo
HeatherBookNerd I‘m in the middle of this now and it‘s great! 2mo
dylanisreading @Ruthiella Haven't read any Fowler before this, but I'm liking Booth so far! 2mo
dylanisreading @HeatherBookNerd Awesome! I really liked it. 2mo
60 likes4 comments
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Decalino
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Joanna is a workaholic ICU doctor, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who returned to China when she started college. Her life is work, mainly because it's the only place she feels entirely at home. It's hard to explain why I loved this book, but Joanna's unique perspective and distinctive personality made her someone I wanted to spend time with. The book draws to a surprisingly poignant close as the pandemic is just beginning. I already miss it.

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charl08
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang

Much of any culture can be linked back to eating and food, food and care, eating and language. To eat one's feelings, to eat dust, words... to eat someone else alive.... Chinese isn't any different from English in this way... To eat punishment or get the worst of it, chi kui. And, most important, to eat hardship, suffering, and pain, chi ki, a defining Chinese quality, to be able to bear a great deal without showing a crack.

39 likes1 stack add
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charl08
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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JANUARY WAS WELLNESS MONTH at the hospital, and HR sent us daily reminders to take time for lunch. ... On a scale of one to ten, what is your level of well? I found the last question confusing. Was ten the well of one? Because for patients there was a similar scale: in every exam room a series of cartoon faces morphed from happy to sad, from one to ten for pain and well on that scale was a one, while ten was exceedingly not.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks If it‘s anything like where I work your level of well is 👎🏻 At least they asked!! That‘s more than we get! 🤦🏻‍♀️ 3mo
LiteraryinLawrence I really like her writing, from the 2 books I‘ve read by her. 3mo
charl08 @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks kind of the opposite: they ask, but the methods to "help" don't address the wider issues in the sector. 3mo
charl08 @LiteraryinLawrence this was my first, but I hope not the last. 3mo
41 likes4 comments
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charl08
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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I told them that the last time I saw my father was in spring. He had been in New York for business.... He bought me a cup of coffee and I was almost done with it when he had to leave and catch his flight. But to China, I rarely went, nor did I consider myself too Chinese.

The moment those words left my mouth, I wondered why I had said them. What was wrong with being too Chinese? Yet it'd always seemed that something was.

43 likes1 stack add
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BkClubCare
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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I am so overwhelmed. Too many books off hold at the same time and I can‘t seem to focus on any of my current reads. 😩😫

Ruthiella Sorry! 😢Juggling holds is difficult! 3mo
Suet624 Oh no! 3mo
charl08 I know that feeling. Good luck! 3mo
43 likes3 comments
review
LiteraryinLawrence
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Recommend. I really appreciated Joan‘s inner monologue, even though her perspective is different from mine (and she often feels different from those around her). She is a doctor who is well respected at work for her complete dedication and single mindedness, but outside the hospital those sentiments are not taken well by family and acquaintances. With musings about family, career, loss, and what it means to be Chinese, this short book delivered.

94 likes1 stack add
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LiteraryinLawrence
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Getting ready to curl up on this rainy Saturday and hopefully do some reading. It‘s been a rough week so I‘m hoping to lose myself in some books. 💗 I made my May #bookspinbingo board which I will post separately. I‘ve got a stack of books because I still don‘t know what I feel like reading, plus a cozy blanket and 2 furry creatures. Wishing all my Litsy friends a restful and replenishing reading session.

Bookzombie Wishing you the same and a better week next week. 💕 5mo
Kayla.Adriena Aww I'm sorry it's been rough, hate that 5mo
rubyslippersreads 😻😻😻 5mo
Kelly_the_Bookish_Sidekick I hope next week is a better week. 5mo
87 likes4 comments
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MysticFaerie
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

4⭐/5⭐

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RebL
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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As a divorced empty nester attempting to shed family pressure who used to over-appreciate my job, Joan felt compatible. Especially as she mostly stays in her apartment & I mostly never leave my house.
~
I did leave my house to watch my daughter in an Ultimate tournament this weekend. She wore jersey #14--the same number I mostly wore as a strong-side winger in my rugby days.

13 likes1 stack add
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Lauren.Archer
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

This book is an inner dialogue of a socially awkward woman. The writing is sparse and lovely. Wang gets to the point, there is no flourishes in her storytelling but it really works for the characters she dreams up. This is a short read that should not be missed.

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Hooked_on_books
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Joan is Chinese-American, loves her job, is unmarried and has no children. She‘s quite happy this way, which is hard for many around her to understand. I really loved this. I related to Joan in so many ways.

squirrelbrain Sounds great - stacked. 7mo
Megabooks I related to it as well. Interesting book. 7mo
BkClubCare A friend just today rec‘d this one! Said it is weird and quirky? ❤️ 7mo
Hooked_on_books @BkClubCare I didn‘t find it at all weird, but I think quirky would be fair. (Full disclosure, I‘m not in medicine anymore but I‘m an MD, so I can relate to this character in a way others may not, so it may actually be weird in a way that is normal for me.) 7mo
BkClubCare @Hooked_on_books - weird in a good way! I will read it (and ask more probing questions of my friend.) She did say that she thoroughly enjoyed it. 7mo
45 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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merelybookish
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Joan is a Chinese-American ER doctor who loves her job, maybe too much. But then the death of her father back in China stirs up old memories and complicated feelings about family, success, being an immigrant, and what it means to belong. I loved this book. I loved Joan and her quirky, deadpan observations. She made me laugh out loud and she made me cry. Highly recommend! (Unless you're avoiding pandemic novels.)

batsy I really enjoyed the tone/voice of Chemistry and am looking forward to this! 7mo
merelybookish @batsy I want to read Chemistry now! 7mo
79 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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merelybookish
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Cackled to myself while audiobaking some cookies. This book about a workaholic Chinese American doctor isn't a comedy but her deadpan observations and wry tone are pretty hilarious.

Sparklemn Yum. What kind of cookies? 7mo
66 likes1 comment
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LeslieO
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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#thisweekinnewbooks and last week, too. Believe it or not I‘ve read more books than I‘ve purchased this month (so far!) This bunch includes my subscription from The Bookshelf Thomasville (tagged book) and The Violin Conspiracy, my pick from the Currently Reading podcast indie press list. Yay Indie Bookstores. (The other two are from Amazon🤪) #MountTBR

EvieBee Wow! Goals. 💕 7mo
57 likes1 comment
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ReadingEnvy
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

I've had Weike Wang on my radar but never read Chemistry. This is her second novel, about Joan, a successful ICU doctor in New York, child of Chinese immigrants who actually moved back to China once Joan and her brother no longer needed them. The story introduces Joan in normal times as a slightly isolated person, but this seems to bother her family and neighbors more than it bothers her. Then covid hits and it changes some of these dynamics.↘️

ReadingEnvy When I look for audiobooks, I tend to go for anything 9 hours or less, and this was a sixish hours audiobook well read by Catherine Ho. 7mo
Reggie Chemistry and Severance by Ling Ma could be book twins. I loved them both. 7mo
ReadingEnvy @Reggie oh interesting. Well if Chemistry reflected the author's college years at all, I'd say Joan is Okay might be the Road Not Taken for her. Which I kind of like as a concept. 7mo
Reggie @ReadingEnvy both have to do with women whose Asian immigrant parents have a huge impact on their adult lives. One just happens to be in a weird zombie apocalypse and the other breaks down during grad school. I really look forward to this one. 7mo
ReadingEnvy @Reggie and then in Joan is Okay, there is a virus apocalypse only it's covid! 7mo
54 likes1 stack add5 comments
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suvata
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy NYC hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural expectations.

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Branwen
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Starting this one today! It looks interesting! 💕📚💕 #catsoflitsy #littenkitten #rumpel

rubyslippersreads 😻😻😻 8mo
RaeLovesToRead Rumpel 💕💕💕 she is just too cute!!!! 8mo
Branwen @RaeLovesToRead @rubyslippersreads Thank you! ❤ Cute and ornery! 🤣😂 8mo
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ravenlee My kiddo loves seeing pictures of Rumpel! I don‘t even have to tell her who it is. She‘s kind of stalking your kitty, actually…so, sorry about that? 8mo
Branwen @ravenlee OMG. This literally just made my night! Please don't apologize- I love this and am so happy to hear it! I'll make sure to keep posting Rumpel moments which honestly won't be hard as she seems to love being on Litsy as much as she loves being read to! 😸💕📚 8mo
ravenlee Kiddo said to me a few days ago, “Are there any pictures of cats online?” Which just made me crack up, because the internet was freaking MADE for pictures of cats! But what she meant was new #catsofLitsy pics and that was even more awesome. I have created mini-me: she devours books, adores cats, and loves tea and chocolate. Success! 7mo
Branwen @ravenlee She sounds like an AMAZING kiddo! 😃 You are definitely doing something right! 😻💕📚 7mo
61 likes7 comments
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Megabooks
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Joan Is Okay is okay, and that‘s fine. Not a “best book of the year,” but quietly relatable to me.

Joan is a doctor, almost a stereotypical Asian immigrant robot achiever. Her father dies unexpectedly, and she continues to plow ahead working as many shifts as possible in the ICU. When HR makes her take a break, she discovers TV and an adult relationship with her brother, HOWEVER I appreciated that it was a rocky road without a storybook ending.

Cinfhen I thought this was ok, nothing special but I did appreciate the way Covid was written into the story without it being the center of the story. Nice review 8mo
Cinfhen It was a little too similar in style to her first novel 8mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen yeah, I did like the way Covid wasn‘t the spotlight. I liked chemistry a bit, but I liked this one more. 8mo
Reggie I loved Chemistry. I look forward to this one. 8mo
Megabooks @Reggie I enjoyed it as well, and this is very similar in construction and spirit, so I think you‘ll like it. 👍🏻 8mo
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Cinfhen
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

#NetGalley #DoubleSpin Available JANUARY 11
Joan lives a life of self imposed loneliness. Her workplace,as an ICU doctor is her safe place. When a new neighbor moves in & her mother comes for a visit her life is thrown off kilter.
This book was light but insightful. Unfortunately, it left me underwhelmed but I did appreciate the inclusion of the early days of Covid, not as a gimmick but as a source of authenticity.
#BorrowNotBuy

Cinfhen I noticed this was on your #Top21of21 list @DrexEdit and that encouraged me to push it up my TBR. THANKS for posting and sharing 😊 9mo
Texreader Beautiful photo 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 9mo
DrexEdit I totally agree with what you say about including the early days of the pandemic. It did feel pretty organic here and not overly gimmicky. Glad you liked it, even as a light read! 9mo
Cinfhen I‘ve read about 6 or 7 books now that have included the pandemic in some form @DrexEdit and this one felt must organic. Do you think this will become the norm for contemporary fiction !?!! 9mo
Chelsea.Poole I‘ve noticed recently when reading contemporary fiction that DOESNT even mention the pandemic I‘m taken out of the story like wait a minute— this isn‘t real life, where‘s the COVID stuff!?! It‘s apparently pretty deeply rooted for me at this point 😑 9mo
Cinfhen Yeah, I get that @Chelsea.Poole I don‘t mind Covid being referenced but I don‘t want it being played out. Does that make sense??? 9mo
Chelsea.Poole Yes, definitely makes sense. I want to escape it too, and do not need a play-by-play either 😊 9mo
74 likes10 comments
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Marsha Skrypuch
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Throughout the book I had the urge to hug Joan even though I'm sure she would have hated it. Loved the novel.

DrexEdit I had the same thought about this book! Really enjoyed this read 11mo
10 likes1 comment
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DrexEdit
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Pickpick

Joan is a mid-30s Chinese-American ICU doctor. Joan is hyper-focused on her career & doesn't know about things like Seinfeld or interior design. Joan is quite literal & assesses people by how much space they take up. Joan has social anxiety. Joan's older brother is deeply invested in her life choices. Joan's parents returned to Shanghai to live, but her father recently died. Joan has some issues. But you know what? Joan really is Okay. 5 ⭐ 👍

DrexEdit I really enjoyed getting to know Joan and watching her figure out her place in the world. I am going straight out to get Weike Wang's first book Chemistry and shall eagerly await more from this author! 11mo
CarolynM Sounds good. Stacked. 11mo
EvieBee I had no idea she had another book out. Chemistry is one of my most favorite books. Will definitely be reading this asap. 11mo
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DrexEdit @EvieBee Dang! I forgot to add this to my review! I received an#ARC from #NetGalley. This book publishes in January! Sorry! 11mo
EvieBee Guess what?! It‘s already in the library database as “on order” and I‘m first in line! So thank YOU. (edited) 11mo
DrexEdit @EvieBee 😄 👍 11mo
44 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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Well-ReadNeck
Joan Is Okay | Weike Wang
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Similar vibes to the author‘s earlier novel, Chemistry. This author is now officially an auto buy for me. #ARC #Netgalley

44 likes2 stack adds