Jin-Ho’s family invites Susan’s family to an Arrival Party and begin a tentative relationship. As the years pass, each family feels they are in battle with the other as they try to raise a child in American and still keep the heritage she was born with. Cultures and ways of life are challenged. Insecurities are formed and cause dissension. The annual Arrival Party becomes an ordeal which neither family had planned for and it almost seems too much trouble as each family tries to outshine the other in their efforts to make this day special.
This book is well-written as it covers an issue many American families face today. In our melting pot society, it is sometimes a fine line between absorbing other cultures while trying to retain our own. Anne Tyler shows how two families are able to deal with the problems of merging different cultures.