No doubt at the end of The Dim Sum of All Things, the reader is left wondering, “What will happen to this daffy and robust heroine, Miss Lindsey Owyang?” Could there really be a sequel, tentatively titled, Buddha Baby, which would tell of her further exploits as she navigates her sunny world of Hoarders, Twinkies, and various septuagenarian stalkers? The answer is, why, yes. Buddha Baby is about true love, organ meats, and an evil grandmother. Lindsey Owyang continues her quest for identity, family secrets, and the perfect Prince Charming, all the while searching the cloud-streaked skies of San Francisco for ways to build a better relationship with her father’s crotchety mother, Ah Yin. And when she’s not mending a cross-generational bridge with her Chinese relatives, she is walking another tightrope: How can she devote thirty-five hours a week to her old grammar school, St. Maude’s, working as a gopher for the pint-sized nuns who tormented her as a child, and still have enough energy in the evenings to stoke the fires of her romance with her Keanu Reeves-lookalike boyfriend whose Christopher Walken impersonations melt her jaded heart? Riding the Hyde Street cable car down the city’s steepest streets and scanning the horizon to the Pacific Ocean, Lindsey finds only wild parrots in the tall eucalyptus trees. Meanwhile, the truth to her queries is closer to home than she realizes: in old family albums, buried amongst her great uncle’s forgotten possessions, maybe even in the basement of her alma mater where she refills plastic jugs of emergency holy water. Romance: Let’s talk about Michael Cartier and why he’s so damn gorgeous. Lindsey has grown up a bit, and has come to appreciate that Michael isn’t just a stone-cold fox with a great record collection. He is someone who really cares about her feelings and is willing to hold her hand while they both swim against cultural currents to find out what it means to be American with Chinese ancestry. If he can appreciate chicken feet and be the office foosball champion, what’s not to love? Now that he isn’t just a casual boyfriend, can Lindsey go the next step and accept him as her life partner? They share an apartment already, and it seems that marriage is the next logical step for them, but no one ever said either love or Lindsey was logical. She fears that tying the knot might inevitably deteriorate their relationship to the point where she’s left only with a freezer full of turkey potpies and weekends spent watching the Golf Channel and Arnold Schwarzenegger marathons. Marriage is a holy union, but since she was never baptized and was banned from First Communion, she wonders, why start now with the sacred sacraments? She still harbors the fear that true love is fraught with hidden booby traps. You can’t choose your relatives: This book will also introduce a new cast of family members from Lindsey’s father’s side of the family. We meet a middle-aged, Chinese Casanova who thinks he is John Travolta, a portly auntie who steals whole platters of food at family gatherings, and an old uncle named Som Goong who is a pathological liar. Having successfully uncovered family stories before, Lindsey now attempts to learn more about the origins of her father’s parents, particularly her grandmother, Ah Yin, with whom she has a rocky, combative relationship. Ah Yin’s life story is shrouded in unpenetrable secrecy and Lindsey is determined to dig up the truth. As in the first book, Lindsey wants to know more, yet she is thwarted by her family’s older generation(s) who perceive her badgering questions to be more than just a minor annoyance. Her curiosity is an increasing threat to the whole family’s equilibrium as she delves deeper and comes closer to uncovering secrets that have been collectively kept for years. About those diminutive nuns: Another large part of this story is that Lindsey has taken a new job as an office drone at her former grammar school, St. Maude’s. Lindsey spends her days as a gopher for her former teachers including a militant 4’8” nun, a wax museum dragon lady of a piano instructor, a sassy Texan swinger disguised as a born-again Christian, a thieving and oftentimes drunk Monsignor, and a lascivious lady of the cloth who resembles the Doggie Diner daschund. Through her contact with them she relives past preteen hijinks and the reader gets to learn about Lindsey’s younger years and how her experiences have influenced her feelings about her ethnicity. We learn that Lindsey spent many years in silent fear that she was actually the Antichrist, her suspicions driven by Sunday afternoon movies and the fact that in second grade most of the Chinese kids in her class disappeared mysteriously one by one. God (or Satan) was obviously saving her for something special. We see Lindsey as a child praying year after year to be selected to play Mary in the Christmas pageant, and we revisit her kindergarten classroom where Sister Bonaventure performs an exorcism involving a musical prodigy and a guinea pig. Oh, and let’s not forget Lindsey spying on the Monsignor, finding him in flagrante delicto with a fake alligator handbag. At the school Lindsey is trailed by a young Chinese student who has taken particular interest in Lindsey’s presence. Lindsey finds the little girl and her existential questioning to be quite unnerving, perhaps because the munchkin reminds her of herself, or perhaps little girls just give her the creeps. By the end, the young student leads Lindsey to an old woman who holds many of the answers which Lindsey seeks. Enter stage left: the dastardly competition for Lindsey’s heart: Lindsey works part-time at a museum giftshop where she likes to think she is closer to her artistic aspirations because she hawks eighty-dollar Matisse tomes and Calder-designed jewelry to San Francisco socialites. Between her retail duties and dodging the randy staff of elderly Philipino security guards, Lindsey spots Dustin, a former St. Maude’s schoolmate in whom she had previous romantic interest. Dustin develops as a potential rival for Lindsey’s affection as she rekindles a schoolgirl crush on him. She doesn’t intend to be distracted from her relationship with Michael, but Dustin uncorks her penchant for juvenile delinquency. Dustin represents the past to Lindsey and her attraction to him is symbolic of her attempt to hold onto a part of her former self. He isn’t any good for her, but that, of course, never stopped anyone. Lindsey regresses, and when she spends time with him she revels in irresponsibility. This dalliance contrasts with her life with Michael that features a mature relationship and adult responsibilities. While she is sneaking around with Dustin and doing stupid things with him like shoplifting, Michael is doing chores for Ah Yin and regrouting their bathroom tile. Will Lindsey be satisfied with steak at home, or be tempted by junk food because she has forgotten the terrible sting of heartburn? And most important, how will she know which is a better accompaniment to chow mein? How Kim ties this all together: Lindsey’s choice between Michael and Dustin is a decision between living in the past and welcoming her future. This dilemma is also mirrored as she searches for answers about her family’s history. Eventually, by prodding her relatives and sleuthing at work, Lindsey discovers that, as a child, Ah Yin was rescued by nuns at St. Maude’s back in the 1920s when it was a missionary school for Chinese girls. We not only find out that Ah Yin was an orphan, but also an identical twin. As Lindsey investigates this lineage, she ponders the meanings of individuality and family, not only with regard to Chinese culture, but also how these concepts affect her romantic life. How far will she go in exposing her family’s secrets? Which is more important, uncovering information for her own curiosity or taking her quest so far that the end result hurts the people she loves? Likewise, how far will she go with Dustin? Playing against her own worst enemy -- herself -- will she sabotage her own game and end up losing Michael, the one she loves? In romance, and as a member of the Owyang family, Lindsey will have to use her heart as her moral flashlight as she decides which secrets to cast light upon and which to leave in the shadows.