This is the most appropriate word to describe this 5 stars read.
I had my attention drawn to this book by Astrid @thebookishsweettooth. She was so enthusiastic my interest was picked and I ordered the book on an impulse.
This story simply is a little gem. Essentially character driven, the writing is light, charming, funny and just right.
Stella is a touching female character. Stella is Asperger and it means that as much as she is brilliant with numbers and econometrics she really is socially awkward. She wants to do good but she does not get the clues most people get so effortlessly and react poorly in many situations. She has to constantly plan and monitor what she’ll say not to hurt other people.
“She’d spent devising conversation trees in her head so she could minimize the need for social improvising. (…) For severla twisting moments, she ran through her list of presocialization reminders: thinsk before you talk (anything and everything can be an insult to someone; when in doubt, say nothing), be nice, sitting on your hands prevents fidgeting and feels good, make eye contact, smile (not teeth, that’s scary), don’t start thinking about work, don’t let yourself talk about work (no one wants to hear about it), please and thank you, apologize with feelings.”
What is fun for us like going out and dance in a club, shopping to buy clothes is a real hardship for her.
She is oversensitive to noises, smells, lights and touch. I already knew this about autistic people but not the small details like seams scratching your skin.
Mrs Hoang made it real for me. So much that I was Stella. Sweet, wanting to do good but not believing in herself Stella. Added bonus for some of my friends; she is a K-Drama fan!
Stella is a very determined young woman. She WANTS to overcome her fears.
When her mother asks for grand-children Stella is determined to satisfy her wish. She “just” has to get better at sex to be able to entice a potential mate.
What better way to improve than to have lessons by a professional escort right?
What would seem totally crazy for most of us is in fact logical for practical Stella.
She hires Michael who is incredibly handsome and that I recommend for my friends Dani and Poulami as he looks like Daniel Henney famous KDrama actor.
Michael is not only handsome but gifted in bed and above all he is kind patient and considerate. He will soon be really dedicated to help Stella unaware of her autism.
What is deeply touching and that I could related was Stella’s wish to be known for herself. Not seen as someone with Asperger but as Stella. Unique charming smart and awkward Stella.
That’s when the book gets deep as we broach the topic of how “different” people are just..people and wants to be seen as people. Not “people with” autisme for example. Considering them people with Asperger sounds like they should get rid of it while it is WHO they are. They don’t have to change. They are unique and perfect.
This is truly a Pretty Woman in reverse here as Michael is broke and has to sell his body, unbeknown to his family to support all the bills.
Michael may be a “prostitute” he really is the perfect boyfriend I wish my daughter one day!
I also loved all the small touches about vietnamese culture. The food, feeding the dead, the big extended family, the…
Everything worked for me.
Special mention to the dialogs!
Stella being unable to lie and quite “direct” it gave some little gems, especially as Michael had no idea she was Asperger!
Here is one excerpt to give you an idea:
“You smell really, really good. What is it?”
Where was that scent coming from? It seemed to be everywhere on him, but too light. She craved a more concentrated dose.
A funny look crossed his face. “It’s just me, Stella.”
“You smell this good?”
“Apparently. You’re the first to comment on it.”
“I want it all over me.” As the words left her mouth, she worried she’d said the wrong thing. That statement had sounded a little too personal, a little strange. Would he notice how strange she really was?
That’s it! I loved it and encourage everyone to read this story that will make it to my “bests of 2018”!
Have you read it? Loved it? Do you like stories with “different” main characters?
Thanks for reading!