In the late 1980s on the Jersey shore, Jane Wong watches her mother shake ants from an MSG bin behind the family's Chinese restaurant. She is a hungry daughter frying crab rangoon for lunch, a child sneaking naps on bags of rice, a playful sister scheming to trap her brother in the freezer before he traps her first. Jane is part of a family staking their claim to the American dream, even as this dream crumbles. Beneath Atlantic City's promise lies her father's gambling addiction, an addiction that causes him to disappear for days and ultimately leads to the loss of the restaurant.
Honoring the full depth...in a single review is as impossible as celebrating the full richness of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage in a single month ... Wong’s book is reminiscent of an abstract watercolor, free-flowing, nonlinear, without clear borders.
Blazing, lyrical ... Wong pairs her painfully specific knowledge of poverty, cultural dislocation, and discrimination with a poet’s conjuring skills and a sociologist’s research ... It’s the visceral descriptions of sorrow and anxiety that stick with the reader.
Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City is experimental in form and dense with beautiful sensory images, particularly of food. In her own indelible way, Wong records her coming of age and finding her place in her family, in poetry and in the world.