Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops
Adult; Memoir; (Market)
Allison Hong is not your typical fifteen-year-old Taiwanese girl. Unwilling to bend to the conditioning of her Chinese culture, which demands that women submit to men’s will, she disobeys her father’s demand to stay in their faith tradition, Buddhism, and instead joins the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then, six years later, she drops out of college to serve a mission—a decision for which her father disowns her.
After serving her mission in Taiwan, twenty-two-year-old Allison marries her Chinese-speaking American boyfriend, Cameron Chastain. But sixteen months later, Allison returns home to their Texas apartment and is shocked to discover that, in her two-hour absence, Cameron has taken all the money, moved out, and filed for divorce. Desperate for love and acceptance, Allison moves to Utah and enlists in an imaginary, unforgiving dating war against the bachelorettes at Brigham Young University, where the rules don’t make sense—and winning isn’t what she thought it would be.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10
Idea: An engaging memoir of an immigrant woman in circumstances many readers will find at once unimaginable and familiar: alone and determined. The book explores independence, maturity, faith, and love with a strong voice and narrative structure.
Prose: The book features strong writing. While some typographical errors have slipped through, the writing is tight, consistent, and at times quite eloquent.
Originality: This book tells a story more unique and intriguing than many memoirs that stumble chronologically through a relatively banal life story. Rather than deterring her, the emotional abuse the narrator survives from her young Mormon husband sets her on a course of strengthened faith and self-reflection.
Character/Execution: The memoir is structured well, with a strong hook at the book’s onset before moving the narrative into the past and working back to the opening moment. Supported by strong, well-paced writing, this makes for a very enjoyable read.
Date Submitted: January 25, 2021