Ali Wong S Heartfelt And Hilarious Letters To Her Daughters The Two She Put To Work While They Were Still In Utero , Covering Everything They Need To Know In Life, Like The Unpleasant Details Of Dating, How To Be A Working Mom In A Male Dominated Profession, And How She Trapped Their Dad.In Her Hit Netflix Comedy Special Baby Cobra, An Eight Month Pregnant Ali Wong Resonated So Heavily That She Became A Popular Halloween Costume Wong Told The World Her Remarkably Unfiltered Thoughts On Marriage, Sex, Asian Culture, Working Women, And Why You Never See New Mom Comics On Stage But You Sure See Plenty Of New Dads.The Sharp Insights And Humor Are Even Personal In This Completely Original Collection She Shares The Wisdom She S Learned From A Life In Comedy And Reveals Stories From Her Life Off Stage, Including The Brutal Singles Life In New York I.e The Inevitable Confrontation With Erectile Dysfunction , Reconnecting With Her Roots And Drinking Snake Blood In Vietnam, Tales Of Being A Wild Child Growing Up In San Francisco, And Parenting War Stories Though Addressed To Her Daughters, Ali Wong S Letters Are Absurdly Funny, Surprisingly Moving, And Enlightening And Disgusting For All. I often think about what it would be like for my grandfather to see me now What would he think about me saying all of the disgusting things I say onstage How he would feel about his granddaughter talking about what she lusts after How I obsess over the most trivial problems How I make a living by talking about what I want How people pay to see his granddaughter just talk. He d probably think I was some sort of magician with ancient powers, derived from behaving very well in a past life Or a witch, I guess At the very least, he d definitely have the opposite opinion of all those jealous ass white male comedians who say things like People only like your comedy because you re female and a minority My grandpa would be like I can t believe people like your comedy You re a female and a minority I have heard of Ali Wong and have seen her referenced a few times, but have never seen any of her standup So needless to say, I was leary about reading a memoir about her This book was recommended to me by someone I trust or I would have never picked it up on my own I usually like memoirs or biographies by people in the twilight years of their lives or, better yet, dead I think that comes from being a completist I want the whole story, not just the first third of someone s life So here I am writing a review of a memoir by a woman in her 30s How extraordinary What is amazing is that I gave the book five stars How is this possible It is simply impossible not to Anyone who knows me well has heard my diatribe about movies billed as comedies It s not that I don t like to laugh I find life a series of comedic events, but I like comedy that occurs naturally, and comedic movies always come across as forced comedy, which ultimately starts to feel flat and fake I m soon wishing I d put in something like In Bruges, where a serious plot is frequently enlivened by comedic elements So what I m saying is that I m a terrible risk for a book like this Ali Wong chooses to write her book as a series of letters to her children The title reflects that, but my first reaction isI m a guy, so she isn t really interested in men reading this book Won t I feel like I m peeping in on revealing secrets not intended for me Of course, the whole idea of Ali Wong having a secret she hasn t revealed to the world is rather hilarious Though I do wonder what secret could possibly be so horrendously embarrassing that Wong would not use it for her stand up comedy routine So the title does throw me, but I quickly shake it off as I become caught up in her narrative It isn t long before I am thinkingdon t tell your daughters that My lifetime of brainwashed conditioning showing itself, sporting a wagging finger and disapproving look By the end of the book, I feel like Wong has taken a scrub brush of whitewash to those elements of my mind Full disclosure I did watch her ass wiggle as she scrubbed I would apologize, but then she d have to bring her scrub brush back to have another go Reading this book is going to make you uncomfortable It may even offend you, but keep reading because not only is it good to occasionally be uncomfortable, sometimes you also learn to reserve being offended for those things that most deserve it.I was about half way through the book when I decided to watch her Netflix special Baby Cobra I wanted to put together the Ali Wong being revealed to me in the book with the stand up comedian and found that the honest evaluation of her lusts, wants, and defects were syncopatico If there is pretense, it is well hidden.This woman is refreshingly uninhibited To some that might be code for rude, but it is hard to consider this level of truth to be rude While watching the special, I loved it when the camera would pan to the audience Those sideways looks that couples were giving each other, the hand to the face as someone laughed at something they found to be embarrassingly true, and as her husband describes it, laugh so hard you pee reactions. As compelling as it is to watch Ali s physical reactions, it was equally fascinating to watch the crowd If I ever attend one of her events, I d be tempted to spend the entire skit turned around, observing the crowd I sort of sprung Baby Cobra on my wife, no warning, no gentle explanations to prepare her for what she was about to see She is frequently a test subject to gauge normal reactions to abnormal conditions If I was laughing, I looked over at her so that I would laugh even harder She was one of those audience members with her hand over her face as she chuckled She laughed so hard at one time she had trouble breathing I didn t ask her if she had a pee reaction My wife never sweats, but insists she only glistens, so her admitting to any vulgar body reactions would be most unusual The book is hilarious, but it is than that She talks a lot about the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to make it as a comedian She often performed several sets at comedy clubs after working all day She discusses the added hazard of being a female having to perform indives Can you imagine that walk from the club to her car in the early hours of the morning She believes that safety is one of the contributing factors as to why there are not female comedians She talks about her heritage and her relationship with her extended family Every immigrant family has an interesting story, and her parents are no exception She is half Vietnamese and half Chinese, and those two cultures may seem similar in the eyes of many, but they actually have vast differences in philosophical approaches to life Her husband is also half and half, and she describes their relationship as having the exact same amount of Asian They were both raised as Americans, but their Asian roots heavily influence who they are Her husband writes an afterward, also addressed to their children, and he is pretty honest about his own personal journey dealing with being frequently the subject of his wife s comedy If she were making it all up or exaggerating the circumstances, that would certainly be less of a problem, but the issue, of course, is that she is sending arrows right into the bullseye I love what he says about her Asian cultures often teach us to be silent about our sexuality and filled with shame Your mother breaks that up and transmutes pain and shame into power, like a mystical priestess So as unlikely as I am to be an Ali Wong fan, I have to say it has happened Yes, this book is hilarious, but it also touches on serious issues and, for this reader, even proves to be an inspiration Keep chasing your dreams, work harder, and don t give up Few of us want to be as famous as Ali Wong, but most of us wish we could be successful at something we love to do Patience grasshopper Wax on Wax off I want to thank Mimi Chan of Goodreads and Random House for supplying me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at Ali Wong makes me laugh she is not only hilariously funnybut underneath her raunchy humor, she s a down to earth sweetie pie luv bug Dear Girls is her memoir non fiction book for her fans I m one of them , and anyone curious about her It s written as a letter to her two young little girls.with instructions NOT TOBE READ UNTIL AGE 21 I loved this book I loved reading about Ali. everything Ali We learn about Ali s upbringing and her personal life with love for her handsome Asian husband , and her two daughtersthe heart of what matters most A few excerpts below One of the worst places I performed regularly at was Our Little Theater It literally seated eight people and was located in the heart of the Tenderloin district That neighborhood was home to Southeast Asian refugees, a million drug addicts, and a truly remarkable amount of human feces on the street There was no time to think about my set when walking to Our Little Theater because I was too busy trying not to get robbed and jumping over doo doo and syringes on the sidewalk That s a game of hopscotch you need to win Because if you lose, your consolation prize is ebola WORDS of WISDOM fromAli to her daughters At some point you gotta go Mama loves you but it s so important to get out of your hometown and get the fuck away from your family As the youngest of four kids, I was always being observed by my siblings, who would judge my every decision They had a set idea of who I was and it affected me It was limiting Everything I said generally had no credence because I was at least ten years younger than every single person in my family, so what did I know When I got away from them, I finally felt like I could be the person I was meant to be, which just happened to be a person who talked about her wish to put nail polish remover in men s buttholes so she could accomplish two things at once Chances are that neither of you is also that person My family had always told me how to speak and how to feel about things Part of what was so liberating about being on stage was that I could say whatever I wanted without having loved ones comment on it Regardless of how the strangers would respond, at least they were strangers who didn t know me or have any real authority over who I was I loved the anonymity of my conversations with an audience Deciding to move to NYC after four years of doing stand up in San Francisco was hard for Ali She was 26 at the time, and there were girls just out of college ordering her around who had nicer bags and shoes and she did Every day in NYC was about spending as little money as possible I didn t see any movies or eat out unless they went out on a date, or it was pizza or falafel Ninety percent of the time I cooked at the SoHo loft I d buy lentils from a bulk bin at the East Village co op and boil them to eat with salt, like a medieval peasant And then I d steam some vegetables from Chinatown For three dollars and fifty cents, I found a place that sold half of a cooked chicken that was probably loaded with enough antibiotics to turn my blood into Purell Pretty much the worst thing about being a woman in stand up is that you are always forced to socialize with male stand up comics girlfriends Comedy requires taking risks, and Ali takes them She s had nights of people yelling boo She learned from those devastating nights She s a comic that seriously works hard at her craft She learned early to diversify her crowds She said yes to every opportunity to do a set in other cities, even if it meant losing money Ali gives advice to her daughters about stand up don t do it about men, dating, men should pay on a first date , sex, pregnancy, family, things she learned from her Vietnamese immigrant mother, siblings, etc , shoes, wear flats , about making mistakes make them , and about the many choices they will make in their lifetime Ali also shared with her daughters and us , shameful things she did in her youthsmoked her first cigarette at age 11shoplifted lipstick One New Years Eve when I was seventeen, I made out with thirteen boys and three girls That s basically an entire high school production of Oliver etc she promised her daughters that things get way better after their teen years.How anyone can t see Ali Wong s greatness her warm hearted honest goodness her gift to the world as an unguarded human being is beyond me Yep I love Ali s stand upAnd reading this book was a deeply pleasurable The last chapter, the Afterword, is written by Ali s husband, Justin HakutaHe writes a letter to his girls Dear Mari and Nikki..Justin is mensch of a husband and father Looking forward to listening to the Audiobook I can already imagine how enjoyable it will be to hear Ali read it Thank you Random House, Netgalley, and Ali Wong 4.5 StarsDear Girls is a book made up of Ali Wong writing letters chapters to her young daughters The letters are hilarious, cautionary candid tales telling of Ali s life experiences from childhood through adulthood and cumulating into her becoming a mother She is frank, candid, vulgar and hilariously real about all aspects of her life She is not afraid to take risks and encourages her daughters to do so but to also learn from the mistakes their mother has made Her book reads like her stand up comedy specials heck she mentions them enough in the book She is fearless and really puts herself out there and pokes fun at her body, dating, her husband, having immigrants as parents, sex, food, pregnancy, and how taking risks paid off and made her a better person and stand up comic You do not need to be a fan of Ali Wong to read this book I really didn t know much about her prior to reading this one I saw a couple of clips on YouTube of her performing while pregnant If you were not a fan before this book, you will be after reading it Unless you are turned off by talk of gapping buttholes and her multiple descriptions of her big bush Seriously, someone needs to introduce this woman to laser hair removal or as least take her to get waxed Just thinking out loud there.This book is fabulous although it seemed to stop on a dime It just ended and then there was the afterword written by her husband to their two daughters Overall, a hilariously funny, frank, raunchy, heartfelt and entertaining read Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review Honestly, it cracked me up and made me smile All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Let me tell you, it is such a relief to have a funny, well written book from a comedian that I admire Man, I ve been burned so many times before with mediocre books from comedians, I barely dared to hope with this one But Ali Wong really delivered If you are a fan of Ali Wong, you will like this book I pinky swear promise The beginning of the book is pure Ali Wong humor, and if you think think that means vagina and pubic hair jokes, you would be 100% CORRECT.Ali Wong is purely who she is, and I love that about her I think people underestimate her though not so much any, thank you Always Be My Maybe , but she is one of the most honest, crassly amazing comedians out there I love that she is a parent now, and I related to her stories a ton, even though our upbringing was completely different I ate up the stories about how she met her husband and how he compared to the multitude of men she had dated in the past She gave me the intimate content I was craving, and, no, I don t mean of her sex life get your mind out of the gutter.The second half of the book was a bit less funny and of an exploration of her ethnic background, which I also enjoyed Ali Wong showed me a lot about who she is and where she is going, both in her own journey to learn about herself and with her comedy Sometimes, I think it s too early for a comedian to write a book, but with Ali Wong, it was just right Both funny and poignant, Ali Wong really nailed it with Dear Girls Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life Copy provided in exchange for an honest review goodreads instagram twitter blog I truly feared this book would be fluff Instead it is fearless and real Ali Wong says how we all feel I m not fine Yet in her resilience and grit she is able to turn childhood resentment, male rejection, discrimination, getting boo d offstage, the fear of a prenup, and a bushy pussy into the best things that could have happened to her I laughed out loud as I imagined Ali s exaggerated comedy voice confessing life moments like this one when she was pregnant After a while, I couldn t see my vagina when I looked down, because all I could see was my belly But when I stared at myself in the mirror, my vagina just looked like an ancient wise Chinese man from a fairy tale that got stuck in a cave and survived off yams The hair was so damn long and neglected My nipples became progressively bigger and darker One day I noticed the tips were starting to look a little scaly and naturally rubbed them Some bits started to flake off like tiny brown boogers And I just sat on the bathroom floor completely naked, with a garbage can between my thighs, picking at my nipples Daddy walked in on me while I was completely focused on this important activity and asked , Are you harvesting your nipples I didn t even look at him and just responded, Well, obviously So many times I said YES I totally get that It wasn t just because we shared a common Asian experience but often because we shared a common human experience I applaud her courage in sharing so nakedly sometimes literally nakedly so be prepared for some frank language Asian women live forever and having kids is like a 401 k for companionship YES If a man rejects you once you ve physically made a move on him, he s not going to change his mind The dick don t lie. YES What I have in common with stay at home moms We are all just doing our best. YES I ve felt an increasing amount of jealousy and resentment from certain white male comics I hear that line a lot Me, I m just another white guy Here s a solution Try being a funnier white guy. YES It broke my heart I said, This is torture I can t handle this any YES The most important part of parenting, relationships, pretty much anything is just actually being there. YESA friend and I worried because in the intro Ali tries to set our expectations low about her writing But while her prose isn t exquisite in that way where you can rhapsodize over gloriously minute details, it is weighted with truth which far exceeded my expectations 5 stars P.S I have a secret hope that Ali and I are meant to be good friends, for her sister is also named Mimi and her best friend has half my name Miya But wait would that make me superfluous I am not too proud to be a 3rd Mimi My honest review was made possible by an Advanced Reader Copy thanks to Random House. If you want to enjoy this book, don t read the last chapter First, do not read this book until you are over twenty one You should not be allowed to know these inappropriate things about me if you can t even buy beer yet Dear Girls is about the messy parts of life, but ends up being a bit of a mess itself Despite the rough bits, though, it s an enjoyable read Once you get past the shaky opening chapters, stand up and TV writer Ali Wong is as frank, hilarious, and graphic as you d expect My full review goes into detail about what did and didn t work for me.But if you re enjoying this book, quit while you re ahead, because the last chapter pops the illusion of candor and relatability like a day old balloon.The final letter is actually from Wong s husband, and it is so close to self awareness The chapter could have been thoughtful and confessional, but it doesn t quite get there, and ends up a little irritating The real disappointment, though, comes in the third to last paragraph of the book, when Justin Hakuta Wong s husband drops this line Who were we to take care of you and nurture such magical beings But then instinct kicked in, along with relatives and Sofiya, your magical Ukrainian nanny, and we were off and running on our new adventure There s a lot to unpack there, and I try to explain on my blog why this soured my experience of the book It s not that I m surprised that the family has a nanny, it s that it didn t occur to me that she was missing until the very end For all her detailed descriptions of post birth infection and breastfeeding pains, Wong never once mentions who is taking care of her children during the day She spends an entire chapter talking about the experience of being a stay at home full time parent while on maternity leave, and how taxing it was She spends paragraphs praising her husband for being so involved even though he still works Never once, in her unflinchingly honest set of letters to her daughters, does Wong mention a woman instrumental in their upbringing Celebrity memoirs require almost as much suspension of disbelief as novels To enjoy them, you have to ignore the enormous impact of wealth and resources on the life of the person whose problems you re reading about You have to look past everything that makes their life different to appreciate the moments when they re Just Like You Even the most honest of memoirs are a magic trick.Ali Wong almost pulls it off but if she wanted to seem relatable, she should have either been honest about the help she gets, or not mentioned it at all Thank you to Random House for providing an advance review copy of this title No money changed hands for this review and all opinions are my own Dear Ali Wong,I want to be your best friend.You made me laugh so hard and cry unexpectedly, separately and also simultaneously and here is where I should insert the cry laugh emoji And you know why I felt what I felt Because your voice really pierced through the pages It was like watching you on stage in one of your Netflix stand up specials, and sometimes even like you were addressing me personally The content was similar to some of the themes of your specials but you poured your thoughts and emotions in this a lot , since you were really addressing your girls and not me.You made me even prouder of my Asian heritage To hear an empowered Asian person talk about her own experiences in our shared culture and tradition but also in the context of your unique life, provided me with so much appreciation and insight into my own Beyond the Asian experience, it applies to many of us all relationships, sexuality, marriage, family, workplace And this is why representation matters Because so many others of the same culture can relate to, but also these relatable human experiences are universal.Love you,Your new BFF I got my hot little hands on an ARC from secret sources I really liked the book except for the last chapter from the author s husband, which ended up making me like the whole book less.First, the chapter was insipidly self congratulatory and he is boring so I do not care what he has to say Congratulations on being okay with being rich Second, the rest of the book is so funny and vulgar a lot like Ali Wong s standup and suffused with so much love for the titular girls There are so many extremely gross and hilarious stories about giving birth and babies and childcareand then in the husband s chapter there s a brief throwaway mention of the girls Ukrainian nanny who is not mentioned even once in the rest of the book and I was just like hmm Okay So I get that if you are Ali Wong, discussing your nanny who you were able to hire because, again, you re rich disrupts the narrative that you re just like the rest of us with career insecurities and family struggles and whatever And I understand that it s difficult to walk the line of maintaining the authentic, crassly down to earth voice that s made you famous but also now you re famous Still, it really made me re think the whole book, and the clearly strategic choice to leave out discussion of the nanny Somewhere during the many paragraphs where she s lauding her husband for somehow managing to co parent their children despite having a job, she couldn t have thrown in a little bit of gratitude for the woman whose job it is to care for their children It left a bad taste in my mouth and I knocked off a star because of it. Ugh Ali Wong is such a palate cleanser, especially after all of these whiny ass comedians have been moaning about how they re, like, not allowed to be funny any Won t someone think of the white men , In the words of SNL s least employed former cast member, Ali Wong is making it so Asian chicks are funnier than white chicks Good on him, taking a break from calling Asian people c s to compliment her in a way that insults other women.But I agree with that conservative diversity hire s overall sentiment Ali is funny as hell Everything reads in her voice, from the stories about childbirth to the antics of her study abroad trip to Vietnam, she is unapologetically herself There s also a lot of vulnerability on display that her fans may not get to see very often In the very beginning of her book she discloses that she s afraid of being outed as a fucking idiot Obviously nobody with an encyclopedic level of knowledge about various Asian cuisine could be stupid, but I appreciated the candor she gave when talking about her hopes and fears, in addition to the usual sexcapade stories.Since she s primarily a stand up, I feel like the audiobook version would be even better There s nothing that quite measures up to an author reciting their own words to their audience While most of her stories were inherently funny, there wasn t an abundance of quote unquote jokes I think it will work better delivered by Wong herself Some of the best material wasn t necessarily funny at all Her experiences with Asian American culture and as a struggling comedian writer were insightful and heartfelt The only part I really went yikes at was when she brought up male virginity Sometimes it s hard to recognize gender stereotypes that stigmatize men instead of women, but it felt like when everyone collectively lost their shit over The Virgin Bachelor Like come on.we re better than this.The book was framed as letters by Ali to her two young daughters I don t think these are the actual letters she would write them if she wasn t also using them as a book, but there s still plenty of guidance to be gleaned on the whole The Afterword by her husband, Justin Hakuta, was especially sweet and a great note for it to end on I hope Ali keeps working as a writer, and I plan to watch her next stand up special whenever it is Even if she rudely refuses to get pregnant for it Thanks to Random House Netgalley for an advance copy This was a f ing delight This goes on the very short list of books that actually made me LOL Be forewarned, it s super dirty but I found it to be refreshing and hilarious This is a collection of essays she wrote for her daughters to be read only when they turn 21 This was a short and very enjoyable read with equal parts comedy and depth Also reading it made me so hungry Lots of food talk I ve been a fan of Ali Wong and this book made me love her This book was gifted to me by Random House.
- 224 pages
- Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life
- Ali Wong
- 14 June 2018 Ali Wong