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Making a scene
2022
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Library Journal Review
Award-winning actress Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) is refreshingly honest in this look back at the most formative moments of her life, with each chapter acting as a stand-alone, deeply personal essay. Wu began participating in community theater as child looking for acceptance and an outlet for her powerful emotions. She struggled with overcoming her continual casting as the ingénue, fighting for more diverse roles and eventually finds sitcom fame as the tiger mom on TV's Fresh off the Boat. Wu takes full responsibility for the more complicated times and relationships in her life--estrangements with her sister and mother, fights with friends, and love affairs that fizzled out. She candidly describes her experiences with date rape and sexual harassment, culminating in her social media meltdown and a backlash that led to her being taken off her balcony and sent to a hospital. Wu's writing shines when she explores the seemingly simple yet meaningful loves of her life--her pet rabbit, her first car, her childhood neighbors, and her first job in a bakery. VERDICT Wu's mea culpa is a moving study in self-acceptance that will win her more fans.--Lisa Henry
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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