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Making a scene
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Library Journal Review
In this debut memoir, actress Wu (Fresh Off the Boat; Crazy Rich Asians) paints an extraordinarily honest portrait of her life and career. Wu candidly details experiences from her life during different stages: from her suburban upbringing in Virginia, to breaking into acting in New York City, to skyrocketing to fame and beyond. She speaks of being a bold, extroverted woman full of emotions, whose attempts to not "make a scene" have often been to her detriment. As she states, "My emotions have always been larger than my body." Wu grapples with her view of herself, the relationships that have shaped her life, and her place as an Asian American actress, bringing much-needed representation through her roles. She confronts past traumas and discusses how she has found forgiveness. Wu's narration is genuine, lively, and animated, while her honesty and humility create an intimate listening experience. In fact, listeners may feel that they are catching up with an old friend over coffee. VERDICT This engaging memoir will appeal to listeners interested in entertainment-industry memoirs and more specifically, Asian American women navigating Hollywood and fame.--Meghan Bouffard
Publishers Weekly Review
Wu, star of Crazy Rich Asians, dazzles in this essay collection about love, family, and her hard-won path to Hollywood success. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Wu was discouraged from calling attention to herself while growing up in 1980s Richmond, Va., but found an outlet in acting. Despite "assimilating very well" in her predominantly white hometown (doing "all the normal American stuff like cheerleading and... sleepover parties"), Wu couldn't ignore the discomfort she felt when watching Asian characters on screen. As she writes in "Welcome to Jurassic Park": "My face always burned with shame, especially if that character spoke with an Asian accent." It wasn't until 2015, when Wu took a starring role in the sitcom Fresh off the Boat as Jessica, a Taiwanese immigrant and mother to three Asian American children, that her mindset changed: "Off the Boat wasn't race-neutral. It was race-relevant." While the show was groundbreaking--centering an Asian American family's story on American television for the first time in more than 20 years--Wu reveals in "You Do What I Say" that it didn't protect her from the harassment of a producer, or from later having to fight for filming dates that worked for her with Crazy Rich Asians. Even still, Wu remained undeterred, and it's that dogged determination that radiates from every page. Fans will feel lucky to be in on the action. (Oct.)
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