Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China by Eddie Huang (a J!-ENT Book Review)

May 14, 2016 by  


TITLE: Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China

AUTHOR: Eddie Huang

PUBLISHER: Spiegel & Grau

PAGES: 240 Pages

RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2016

Double Cup Love takes readers from Williamsburg dive bars to the skies over Mongolia, from Michelin-starred restaurants in Shanghai to street-side soup peddlers in Chengdu. The book rockets off as a sharply observed, globe-trotting comic adventure that turns into an existential suspense story with high stakes. Eddie takes readers to the crossroads where he has to choose between his past and his future, between who he once was and who he might become. Double Cup Love is about how we search for love and meaning—in family and culture, in romance and marriage—but also how that search, with all its aching and overpowering complexity, can deliver us to our truest selves.

Having reviewed Eddie Huang’s coming-of-age memoir, “Fresh Off the Boat”, I felt the first book gave good insight of what made Eddie to what he is today.

Since that book, a TV series was adapted, became a big hit for the network and as for Eddie, he was quick to give his (not so positive) thoughts about it (despite the series continuing to be popular among Asian Americans and also reaching out to other cultures), the series was definitely not a true portrait of Eddie’s life.

Here we are with Eddie’s latest book “Double Cup Love” and it’s an honest portrayal of his life, his insecurities and how things are at home and his relationship with his brothers.

So for those coming into this second book without reading the first and pretty much going-based off the TV series, I advise you to read the first book because Eddie life and the TV series may have similarities (in terms of family names and the name of the restaurant) but in truth, the life of Eddie Huang and the TV series are far different from each other.

The book features an older Eddie and his brothers. Eddie Huang doesn’t hide the fact that he and his mother, unlike the loving couple in the TV show, screamed and fought each other in reality.

From the dysfunctional relationship between Eddie and his girlfriend Connie (who seems like the dream girlfriend), but Eddie makes the point, of not being raised with a family full of affection, he didn’t know love and he was determined to know what love is all about.

And the book features chapters of Eddie’s relationships, not just girlfriends but also with family.

He dedicates a chapter to his younger brother Evan and how he differed from him and Emery, who were raised as Eddie would say, their father’s “thug motivation”.

As for Emery, Eddie would talk about how he and his younger brother would get in all out fist fights.

But a strong underlying theme is about Eddy discovering love for a woman named Italian-Irish American Dina and what it took to get to that place for a solid relationship but did it last?

Reading Eddie’s “Double Cup Love – On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China”, there is a big difference from “Fresh Off the Boat”.

Whereas the first book was the memoir and living in the US and growing up, this time, it’s about relationships with family, friends and the women in his life.

There is a lot more angst this time around and in many ways, I couldn’t help but think this was a way for Eddie to let emotions come out, trying to discuss something he hasn’t really been all that good with and that is love and knowing what it’s all about and whatever love he has coming towards him or giving out.

There are different perspectives of love and you’ll read all about it in this book but it’s that quest of loving and finding that special someone and wondering if that person is meant to be and is life supposed to be that way. Is a loving relationship supposed to be that way.

While I am reviewing an advanced copy of “Double Cup Love” and not sure if there are any changes in the final version, his second book no doubt comes from the heart and wanting to show the raw emotions and the experiences he had in relationships.

The last book had a heavy emphasis on the food aspect but this time around, it’s about trying to find love and discover it and what kind of relationship does he have with this person and that person.

While “Double Cup Love” is not as great as Eddie’s first memoir, “Double Cup Love” does give us more insight of Eddie as an adult. His observations and insecurities about life and love and how it’s an ongoing process of learning.

If you enjoyed the first book especially it’s latter chapters, then you will no doubt enjoy his book. It’s raw, it’s blunt and it was interesting to see how life is for Eddie Huang and his true relationship with his parents, his brothers and other people in his life.

And showing that despite any success he may have, he’s no different from anyone else and can often have f’d up moments and that his life is not as serene as the “Fresh Off the Boat” TV series but also how he’s doing his best, no matter how difficult life can be at times.

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