REVIEW: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto

In brief: Meddy’s mum has set her up with a blind date, but things turn very pear shaped. Now he’s dead, and the only people Meddy can turn to are her aunties. Organising the wedding of the year and disposing of a body? No problems.

The good: Very funny in parts.

The not-so-good: I was a bit torn on feeling for the blind date or chalking it up to fiction.

Why I chose it: Sounded like something a bit different. Thanks to Harlequin for the copy.

Year: 2021

Pages: 298

Publisher: HQ (Harper Collins)

Setting: California, USA

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Dial A for Aunties has been getting rave reviews and sounded like fun. It’s a comedy combined with romance and a sort-of-not-really-but-kind-of murder. I was intrigued to see how it would all work and for the most part, it did really well. It is definitely going to be a cracker of a movie as I think a lot of the physical humour will be brilliant on the screen. It’s an original story that combines Crazy Rich Asians with a lot of humour and a bit of crime.

Meddy is cursed. All the men in her family’s lives have run away and so have all her cousins. Meddy has felt compelled to stay with her mother and join the family wedding business, despite giving up the love of her life. She’s not really unhappy, but not happy either. Her mum is desperate to see Meddy have a love life, so pretends to be her on a dating app and hooks her up on a date. But the date turns very wrong after Meddy is forced to defend herself and now he’s dead. Meddy can only turn to her mum and aunties for help. What better place to dispose of a body than the wedding of the year? At this point things get comic as the aunties bicker and squabble over how to complete this task, having many close shaves along the way. For Meddy, things are made more difficult by the love of her life showing up on the day. For the bride, things are going to turn out to be very different than expected…

I enjoyed Dial A for Aunties, as long as I didn’t get bogged down in the guy who died. He does have some back story that ‘sort of’ justifies things but I needed to justify to myself that this fiction and comedy at that. The comedy is done very well and the arguments between the aunties had brilliantly witty dialogue. The aunties’ occasional slips with English (the main characters are Indonesian-Chinese) and lack of understanding of emoji meanings were hilarious. Really, it’s the aunties who steal the show! (Although I wish that there was an Indonesian glossary at the back because my school never covered the words the aunties use!)

There is a lot going on in this book, with the body, Nathan and Meddy reuniting and all the drama going on with the wedding. The action never stops and it’s predominantly very light hearted (but be prepared to have a few ‘aww’ moments at the end). It’s messy but never so tangled that you can’t keep track of the characters or plot. It combines satire, crime and the drama of weddings oh-so-well into one high velocity story. Get working on that movie, Netflix!

One thought on “REVIEW: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto

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  1. I enjoyed this book too, Very different. Another Southeast Asian fiction I liked was Last Tang Standing, romantic comedy set in Singapore.

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