Copy editor Nicci Bradford
is trying to maintain her sanity in a lonely
world. But it's difficult to do when she's busy accidentally supplying the comic relief in the movie of her own life
and navigating through a tricky maze of interpersonal
relationships with friends, family and coworkers.
Fortunately Nicci has
a guru of sorts to see her through the worst of times. Whenever she
encounters a sticky situation, she simply reflects back on her vast
Jackie Chan movie collection and brings up a pearl of wisdom to apply to
the problem. And when the going gets really rough, Nicci pops a Jackie Chan flick into the VCR,
peels the lid off of a can of
Pringles, and flops down onto her futon couch fully prepared to absorb
still more wisdom of
the ages, as well as a little fat and sodium.
But what should Nicci
do when she runs into an issue that Jackie has no answer for? Say,
physically running down an extremely handsome, rich, funny and available
business client in the hallway at work? One who wants to take an
embarrassed yet intrigued Nicci to dinner--against company policy?
worked for me:
religiously, and culturally cynical Nicci really resonated with me. I
enjoyed eavesdropping on her thoughts as she tried to make sense of a
The author used a soft
touch when including some deep subjects in an otherwise light story.
It made for a good balance: I didn't feel like I was smothering in fluff, but I wasn't
completely dragged down
either. (Well, except for those two crying jags. But I didn't stay
down after I reached the end of the story, and that's what counts with me.)
As a kung fu flick widow I
can proudly say that I recognized every Jackie movie mentioned in the story. Frankly, I thought that the
film references presented a fascinating way to compare the two cultures which have shaped the
main character. (If you are interested in East/West cultural contrasts of
this sort, look into the love story "Iron and Silk". Though I
haven't yet read it I imagine the
book is wonderful. However, I can vouchsafe for the fact
movie is absolutely breathtaking. It goes without saying that
you can't capture the martial art of Wu Shu in words the way you can on
Size-wise Nicci was your everyday
girl next-door, complete with cellulite, which she didn't think too
much about except when she was required to wear a clingy dress.
What didn't work for me:
Nicci is just like
any other friend for whom you can see better than she can the choices
she ought to make for herself. This is as uncomfortable to deal with
in fiction as it is in reality. My fingernails are now all at least
a quarter of an
inch shorter than when I began reading this book.
With its witty, wonderful prose and a heroine worth rooting for, "Coffee
and Kung Fu" is ushering in a new trend in the Chick Lit genre: edgy
without setting your teeth on edge. Be sure to pop it in your beach
bag this summer!
Warning: there are some coarse words, spicy sexual moments,
a brief reference to abortion, and a risk of staying up all night sucking
down this story, which may in turn result in your needing at least 6 cups
of real joe to stay awake the next day.
If you liked "Coffee and Kung Fu" you might also enjoy
"Love at Large",
"What a Girl Wants",
"Getting Over It",
"Bridget Jones's Diary",
"Good in Bed",
"Last Chance Saloon", "Jemima J."
and "Having It and Eating It".
Have you read
this book and have a comment to
make on it? Join a discussion about the book at the Dangerous Curves
or submit a review
to this website.