Trigger warnings: fatphobia, racial discrimination, substance abuse
Andrea Tang is a thriving thirty-three year old career woman. She’s got the dream apartment, a great job, and incredible friends. Yet the one thing lacking in her life is what her mother wants for her most of all: a man. Last Tang Standing follows Andrea’s unlucky-in-love adventures as she struggles to cope with the pressure her family are putting on her to settle down, whilst trying to work out what it is she truly wants from life.
Last Tang Standing started strong. I was completely sold for the first few chapters: Andrea is hilarious and completely relatable, a loyal friend who tells it like it is. Nevertheless, Andrea’s likeability wasn’t enough to transcend a few issues I had with the novel.
A friend on bookstagram (@travelsinfiction – go check her out!) pointed out the novel’s fatphobia to me very early on, and following this it was glaringly obvious throughout. Whilst many other discriminatory issues are included in the narrative (e.g. low-level racism and cultural stereotypes, specifically towards Muslims and, more broadly, south Asians), they are challenged by Andrea and so a level of awareness is raised about these issues. Yet the fatphobia in the novel was never challenged, in fact it was perpetuated by the protagonist as a source of humour which I found incredibly frustrating and difficult to look past.
In terms of structure, I found the book was a little longer than it needed to be. As a result, some sections stagnated and I found myself skim reading large chunks towards the end. The ending was also a little predictable and underwhelming, but I didn’t mind the resolution itself because who doesn’t love a happy ending?!
Overall I would give Last Tang Standing 3 stars. It had great potential to be a book I loved, but I found the longer it went on the more disinterested I became. Even Andrea’s hilarity wasn’t enough to keep me hooked sadly! I would recommend this if you’re after a light and easy read which you don’t have to pay too much attention to.