Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto
Narrator: Risa Mei
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 22 minutes
What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue!
When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business – “Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!” – and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.
But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love – and biggest heartbreak – makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?
Dial A for Aunties is the first novel in the Aunties series and is one of the many novels that I saw all over blogs and Bookstagram, so I was excited to finally give try it. Considering that this story is about a family covering up a murder and many reviews called it humorous, I had no idea what to fully expect before beginning. The story follows the main character 26-years-old Meddelin (Meddy) Chan along with her Ma and three aunts. She works for the family business as a wedding photographer, although that is not part of her dream. I loved that this story featured an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family and there was a mix of Chinese, English, and Indonesian throughout the writing. There’s also a fun addition where the family immigrated to California from Jakarta, Indonesia to escape an ancient family curse where the women in the family either become premature widows or get divorced.
The story starts with the reader being introduced to Meddy and her family. Despite still loving Nathan, the one that got away, Meddy’s Ma is determined to get Meddy a romantic match. The main hijinks begin after Meddy goes on a blind date and he ends up passing away during the date. She enlists the help of the four aunties (her Ma and three aunts) to help her get rid of the body, but they are under a time restriction as they are also preparing to run a wedding for rich and influential couple the next day. When the cooler hiding the body ends up at the wedding venue, the five characters need to try to get it back without impacting the wedding.
Even though this story could be real as nothing is impossible, there is a lot of improbability to the novel. It is very much out there and not always logical, which may not be for every type of reader. It truly at times felt like a parody, which I loved as it was a very entertaining ride, but, again, may not be for every reader. The story is everything in terms of genre, so the reader never fully knows how it will all play out in the end. The story did keep me on my toes as I was trying to put the pieces together along the way. There is a romance aspect to the tale along with the mystery, the general humor, and the heartwarming family dynamic. While Meddy was a great character, the four aunties do steal the show at times with their fun bickering and quirky personalities.
Overall, this story is over-the-top in a good way as there are some hijinks, some romcom moments, and family banter. As I listened to this on audiobook, the humor was more impactful, for me, compared to reading it as the narrator did a great job delivering the lines. With Nathan attending the wedding as a guest, there was a sweet second-chance romance blooming in the background as the other characters are working to hide a dead body at this wedding. It’s an out-there mix of storylines that seemed to work as it was weaved together well. I am not positive, but I believe Netflix will adapt this story, so I am very much looking forward to having it play out on-screen! As this is also the start of a series with the second one already published, I cannot wait to see what hijinks everyone will get into next!