Gloria Chao - "American Panda" - Susan Blumberg-Kason

Saturday, February 10, 2018 - 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Gloria Chao

Gloria Chao discusses her book American Panda. She will be joined in conversation by Susan Blumberg-Kason.

At 57th Street Books.

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested, but not required)

About the book: An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her germophobia and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

From debut author Gloria Chao comes a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.

About the author: Gloria Chao is an MIT grad turned dentist turned writer. She currently lives in Chicago with her ever-supportive husband, for whom she became a nine-hole golfer (sometimes seven). She is always up for cooperative board games, Dance Dance Revolution, or soup dumplings. She was also once a black belt in kung-fu and a competitive dancer, but that side of her was drilled and suctioned out. American Panda is her debut novel.

About the interlocutor: As a child growing up in suburban Chicago, Susan Blumberg-Kason dreamed of the neon street signs and double-decker buses of Hong Kong. In her late teens, she left for a year abroad in Hong Kong and ended up spending most of her twenties there. She studied Mandarin and completed a master’s degree in political science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Susan is the author of Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair With China Gone Wrong (Sourcebooks, 2014), a dark memoir of her marriage to a musician from central China. She is the co-editor of Hong Kong Noir (Akashic Books, forthcoming) and has written for the Los Angeles Review of Books’ China Blog. Her work has appeared in affiliate paper of the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent magazine, and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. She has been interviewed in the Wall Street Journal, TimeOut Chicago, ABC News Chicago, and WTTW Chicago. You can find her online at

Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637