We’re back on the audiobook memoir train, people! Celebrities narrating their own memoirs makes me happy, I love hearing the genuine emotion in the narration and this one is no exception (but a bit more uh…honest…than your run-of-the-mill memoir!)
American comedian Ali Wong 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, 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.
Paraphrased from Goodreads.
As you can probably tell from the blurb, if you’re a fan of Ali Wong’s stand up comedy shows, you’ll probably adore this memoir by her. She’s the same funny, crass, honest person we know from the stage, touching on personal topics such as pregnancy, miscarriage, motherhood, cultural differences as a Vietnamese-American, and the passing of her father.
I loved that the audiobook was self-narrated, as it helped see through the humour Wong uses in the book when talking about certain topics to hear the emotion in her voice. While I find it hard to believe this is a book you’d actually write to your kids (although, hey, maybe when they’re 21 and used to your kinds of jokes having grown up with it maybe that’s cool – to each their own!), it was still a fun look ‘behind the curtain’ on one of America’s prominent comedians of our time.
Now, I’ll preface this by saying that Ali Wong and I have very different styles of humour. I enjoy her stand up shows well enough, but I definitely feel the ‘crass-factor’ of them because I am an 80-year-old at heart (at least I own it, guys). That said though, it was refreshing to read the memoir and see that this really is just how Ali lives life. Not afraid of how she’ll come across to others if it means being inauthentic to herself, which is something I can absolutely admire in someone. She tells stories of ‘trapping’…um…meeting her husband, exchanges in other countries that opened her eyes to the world, the sometimes strained familial relationship she has, and is so honest about motherhood that I wanted to cheer.
I feel like I can appreciate Ali’s comedy more now too, knowing the struggles she has gone through that underpin the jokes she tells, and how hard she has worked to be where she is. Something about reading someone’s worries and fears in life, and realising they’re not that far removed from your own, helps remind us that regardless of position, race, religion, celebrity, whatever…we’re all just kind-of-anxious blobs of flesh trying to make sense of this insane world. And humour helps us do it with a smile on our faces.
All that said…if I can recommend one thing…don’t listen to this audiobook with bluetooth headphones in public places – the constant fear I had that my connection would die and everyone around me would hear Ali’s narration of her sexual awakenings or just straight-up talking about her vagina/various orifices had me on edge…but also had me giggling so it was worth the payoff…maybe.
Read if: You’re a fan of Ali Wong’s stand up, like celebritymemoirs, or want a laugh and don’t mind some crude humour.
Page Length: 240
Publisher: Penguin Books
Have you read any memoirs lately? Or any books that made you laugh out loud while reading/listening?