Dial M For Murder: A Review of Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases. Shout out to Brazil. I've been getting a lot of readers in Brazil lately. It's nice to see you, how's everyone doing?
Today, we are continuing on with our dive into my TBR pile. I see the light, I’ve made it through so many books that I’ve had sitting around for I don’t know how long. This summer has been full of progress on the TBR front. Which brings me to today’s review. Please give a warm welcome to Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto!
I feel that this book needs no introduction. It took the book world by storm when it was published in 2021. I could not look anywhere without seeing it or hearing about it. I’d say it deserves the praise it has received. I laughed so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I had tears streaming down my face from this book’s humor.
Now I know I’m late to the party, but I’ve brought wine and cheese, so let’s crack into it.
As always a spoiler alert is in order, you’ve been warned. I also must issue a trigger and content warning. The start of the book features a scene involving sexual harassment. I will not bring it up in my review, but please note that it is integral to the plot. Now let’s get to the synopsis.
“Don’t leave you big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!” That is the slogan of Meddelin Chan’s family business. She, her mom, and three aunts run a wedding business. The aunts run the entertainment, bakery, hair and makeup, and florist aspects while Meddelin works as the head wedding photographer. Except Meddelin doesn't really want to be a wedding photographer, or at least not for her family. She’s great at her job, and does love photography, but she doesn’t want to work with her mom and aunts. She loves em, but they are insanely overbearing.
Meddelin has always been the “good girl.” She’s the one who came back home after college unlike all of her male cousins. She’s the one who never does anything wrong. The one who will never leave her family. So when her mother sets her up on a blind date, she goes just to appease her family. Yeah…the date doesn’t go so well. It goes the total opposite of well and she ends up killing her date in self-defense.
Thank goodness for family though! Meddelin’s mom and aunts help her hide the body without any coaxing necessary. Except they hide the body in a cooler that ends up making its way to a fancy new resort that’s hosting the biggest wedding of the decade. They aren’t letting the issue of a corpse get in their way. They’re going to make sure that this wedding goes off without a hitch.
Things goes from worse to worser. On top of trying to keep a dead body hidden, our poor characters have to deal with drunk groomsmen, a groomzilla, 2000+ wedding guests, robbery charges, and the love of Meddelin’s life making an unexpected appearance. Will the Chans be able to pull this wedding off without a hitch? Will they be able to escape their murder charges? All is revealed in Dial A For Aunties.
I love a good comedy of errors, and this one is a ten-out-of-ten. There is so much humor in the writing itself that I can’t help but think of how well it would transfer to the screen. If you’ve read this book then I know you’ve thought about how the addition of physical humor would only elevate this story.
I just want the record to show that my favorite scene is when, and spoiler alert here, a certain character and/or characters are being held hostage and the kidnapper is being complimented the whole time on how well they’ve kidnapped someone. The compliments come out of nowhere and it had me howling. It is so in character for the hostage(s), yet it is not the time nor place for the conversation. Stuff like that is what makes this book so good!
Some stuff was not my favorite though. Namely the style of the writing and our main character; these issue kinda go hand in hand and you’ll see why. Dial A For Aunties is told from the point-of-view of Meddelin, and girl is a mess. Because she and her inner monologue are a mess, so is the writing. Listen, I don’t know anyone in their twenties who isn’t a mess, but Meddelin is simultaneously pure chaos and the queen of being wishy-washy. You will get whiplash from this book. The plot goes from Meddelin hiding a body to then making out with her ex to then lying to her family about who said ex is then back to the body. Like I said, whiplash. And all that is done without a smidgen of critical thinking. Not to mention, readers are being told all in a way that sounds like an elder millennial trying, and failing, to still be hip.
Hello, I must break from this narrative to ask a very important question. Why does Meddelin unironically use dated internet acronyms in her inner monologue? Why is “FML” being included so much in this book? It detracts, it really does.
The combo of the main character and the writing style gets kinda grating. I was definitely having fun with this story, and just went with the flow of it, but sometimes Meddelin was too much. Way, way too much.
Listen, the best way to read this book is to go in knowing it’s balls to the walls chaos. This book, for better or worse, is a wild ride. If you want things to make perfect sense, where there are no plot holes, everything has a perfectly reasonable explanation, and characters suffer from consequences; then this isn’t the book for you. Dial A For Aunties is the exact opposite. There are great comedic moments in here, but it truly is the definition of chaos. You will either love it or hate and there is no in-between. It’s just one of those books. I enjoyed the chaos, but I know plenty of readers who won’t.
And with that, I shall bid you all adieu. I shall see you next week with something a little different.
Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.