kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family

Availability: Ready to download

In this jaw-dropping, darkly comedic memoir, a young woman comes of age in a dysfunctional Asian family whose members blamed their woes on ghosts and demons when in fact they should have been on anti-psychotic meds. Lindsay Wong grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and a mother who was deeply afraid of the "woo-woo"--Chinese ghosts who come to visit in times of In this jaw-dropping, darkly comedic memoir, a young woman comes of age in a dysfunctional Asian family whose members blamed their woes on ghosts and demons when in fact they should have been on anti-psychotic meds. Lindsay Wong grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and a mother who was deeply afraid of the "woo-woo"--Chinese ghosts who come to visit in times of personal turmoil. From a young age, she witnessed the woo-woo's sinister effects; at the age of six, she found herself living in the food court of her suburban mall, which her mother saw as a safe haven because they could hide there from dead people, and on a camping trip, her mother tried to light Lindsay's foot on fire to rid her of the woo-woo. The eccentricities take a dark turn, however, when her aunt, suffering from a psychotic breakdown, holds the city of Vancouver hostage for eight hours when she threatens to jump off a bridge. And when Lindsay herself starts to experience symptoms of the woo-woo herself, she wonders whether she will suffer the same fate as her family. On one hand a witty and touching memoir about the Asian immigrant experience, and on the other a harrowing and honest depiction of the vagaries of mental illness, The Woo-Woo is a gut-wrenching and beguiling manual for surviving family, and oneself.


Compare
kode adsense disini

In this jaw-dropping, darkly comedic memoir, a young woman comes of age in a dysfunctional Asian family whose members blamed their woes on ghosts and demons when in fact they should have been on anti-psychotic meds. Lindsay Wong grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and a mother who was deeply afraid of the "woo-woo"--Chinese ghosts who come to visit in times of In this jaw-dropping, darkly comedic memoir, a young woman comes of age in a dysfunctional Asian family whose members blamed their woes on ghosts and demons when in fact they should have been on anti-psychotic meds. Lindsay Wong grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and a mother who was deeply afraid of the "woo-woo"--Chinese ghosts who come to visit in times of personal turmoil. From a young age, she witnessed the woo-woo's sinister effects; at the age of six, she found herself living in the food court of her suburban mall, which her mother saw as a safe haven because they could hide there from dead people, and on a camping trip, her mother tried to light Lindsay's foot on fire to rid her of the woo-woo. The eccentricities take a dark turn, however, when her aunt, suffering from a psychotic breakdown, holds the city of Vancouver hostage for eight hours when she threatens to jump off a bridge. And when Lindsay herself starts to experience symptoms of the woo-woo herself, she wonders whether she will suffer the same fate as her family. On one hand a witty and touching memoir about the Asian immigrant experience, and on the other a harrowing and honest depiction of the vagaries of mental illness, The Woo-Woo is a gut-wrenching and beguiling manual for surviving family, and oneself.

30 review for The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family

  1. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    I started laughing. I couldn't stop giggling because I wasn't what my family termed Woo-Woo: I was only medically damaged – the spirits that have plagued my Chinese family for years be damned. Thank God. I was a freak with terrible, mutinous genes, but at least I was not turning into my permanently sad mother, my suicidal auntie Beautiful One, or my maternal grandmother, Poh-Poh. When author Lindsay Wong was a twenty-one-year-old MFA student at Columbia University, she finally received a diagno I started laughing. I couldn't stop giggling because I wasn't what my family termed Woo-Woo: I was only medically damaged – the spirits that have plagued my Chinese family for years be damned. Thank God. I was a freak with terrible, mutinous genes, but at least I was not turning into my permanently sad mother, my suicidal auntie Beautiful One, or my maternal grandmother, Poh-Poh. When author Lindsay Wong was a twenty-one-year-old MFA student at Columbia University, she finally received a diagnosis for the vertigo/hallucinations/fatigue that had been plaguing her for years: Migraine-Associated Vestibulopathy. Despite learning that she had a chronic debilitating neurological disorder (which her doctor warned would likely prevent her from reading or writing for the rest of her life), Wong was relieved that she could now prove that she wasn't suffering from “Woo-Woo”: the ghosts that her Chinese-Canadian family blamed for every disappointment, instance of bad luck, or psychological disorder that seemed to haunt their clan. After introducing her story in this way in her memoir The Woo-Woo, Wong then goes on to describe her childhood growing up in the affluent Westwood Plateau neighbourhood of what I assume to be Richmond, B.C.; nicknamed “The Poteau” for all of the grow-ops and meth labs run out of neighbouring McMansions. And what a miserable childhood it sounds like: Her mother had undiagnosed psychological problems, which caused her to act in irrational and dangerous ways, and her emotionally distant father only interacted with his children to demand perfection at school and piano and sports; usually referring to his eldest daughter, Lindsay, as Fatty or The Retard. Lindsay herself learned to become emotionally walled off (both of her parents believed that crying would “let the ghosts in” and Lindsay did everything she could to avoid sporadic “exorcisms”, which might even involve lighting her on fire), and she became a binge eater, a bully at school, and a terrible friend and sister (she has been estranged from both of her siblings for years, and just recently reconnected with her brother). While this book is described as “darkly comic”, I really just found it all kind of sad – made more sad by Wong's emotionally distant tone. I'm quoting at length to give a sense of that: Moaning like an undead cartoon monster, my mother fed us candy for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner but would forget to brush our hair and did not scold us for not cleaning our yellow-spattered teeth. In our family, a mother was someone who made sure her children were never hungry, and she tried as much as she mentally could. But at that point, fed up with our life in the court, I saw that my mother had been born with a heart the size of one of my doll's shoes and would have benefited from some family downsizing – like maybe if it were only me. Besides, even though I was only six going on seven, I didn't think I had ever been a baby or a toddler because of the famous Wong family procreation myth, delivered with the also famous Wong half-funny-half-cruel-all-too-confusing-to-untangle wit, which explained that my parents had fished me out of a downtown Dumpster. “That's why you're garbage,” my father would explain, boasting that my origin story was extraordinarily funny. “All garbage have low IQ. Not like Daddy at all. I'm very, very smart because I'm from library.” “Then why you get me from Dumpster?” I had asked once after starting elementary school, speaking in a churlish, babyish Chinglish. Being sensitive yet spacey, I took his every word at hurtful, no-bullshit face value. “It's free,” my father declared, sounding sombre. “You think we want to pay money for you? Mommy and I know how to save money on unimportant things.” “Why I not important?” I said, sad and a bit resentful. “Because you are from garbage.” That was my father's typical response, a robotic, jokey, unhelpful statement that drove my mother absolutely batshit; it was characteristic of him to carelessly wave a hemorrhaging red cape at a rabid bull, for my mother did not understand humour or indirectness. How they met and married is still a complete mystery to me. It was never once spoken about in our family and deemed irrelevant and irritating as small talk. “I found your Mommy in garbage can,” my father joked when I asked. “What she doing there?” I said. “Just like you, no one want her. Like Mommy, like daughter.” Near the end of the book, Wong writes, “No one would ever believe me if I told them about all the wondrous and terrible and fantastical things that had happened to me”, yet this is that story: bizarre coincidences, family members who make the national news, actually suffering a neurological disorder after a lifetime of being told by superstitious parents that she was weak-minded and prone to Woo-Woo possession. But it's also a book about abuse and the cloistering effects of an immigrant community – neither the kids nor the adults thrived in this large extended family, and no one on the outside seemed to intervene; and I found the whole thing sad. Based on her diagnosis, it seems heroic that Wong completed her MFA in Creative Nonfiction – but now that her family's story is told, I wonder what other stories she has; wonder what tone she would bring to topics that don't have the power to hurt her.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Will

    “Between my mother’s hysterics and the uncertainty of my illness, I couldn’t help but believe that I had fallen into madness.” This book reads like an endless number of user-submitted stories to a February issue of Reader’s Digest. Wong does not give reason as to why she is airing her family grievances in a book – did she grow from it? Learn? Anything? I am also sad to say that it does not contain a likeable narrator – she jumps into her memory with shocking lucidity… and specificity… it makes yo “Between my mother’s hysterics and the uncertainty of my illness, I couldn’t help but believe that I had fallen into madness.” This book reads like an endless number of user-submitted stories to a February issue of Reader’s Digest. Wong does not give reason as to why she is airing her family grievances in a book – did she grow from it? Learn? Anything? I am also sad to say that it does not contain a likeable narrator – she jumps into her memory with shocking lucidity… and specificity… it makes you wonder what is concocted and what isn’t in this “memoir.” Ostensibly, The Woo-Woo is about one girl’s absurd upbringing and her quirky family. Ultimately, it comes off as wholly insensitive: to mental health, to culture, and to the craft of the memoir. Wong’s book lacks that: craft. It tries to be funny. But it’s not. It tries to be shocking. But it’s not. What it does end up being is a slimy, cobbled-together motley of memories/anecdotes. And it quite simply does not make for good literature. There is sadly nothing resembling any sort of nuance. Instead, it reflects a crusade of petty, mean revenge. The author has an MFA in literary nonfiction from Columbia University – it is a shame to see that this came out of it. We miss the character, colour, and class that a solid nonfiction – memoir or not – usually embodies. I usually love the stuff that Arsenal produces, but this falls below their standard of work. I spotted a few too many typos and editorial mistakes to give it a thumbs-up in that regard. And even then, it must have been a muddled editing process with the sheer amount of poorly written, poorly constructed paragraphs present in these pages. It reinforces nasty stereotypes, drags like a soap opera past its prime, and is just a letdown overall. “I felt betrayed in an outsized, abstract way that I could not explain.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Lindsay Wong’s memoir, The Woo Woo, takes a look at growing up in a family plagued with mental illness. Equal parts heartbreaking and darkly comedic, The Woo Woo explores the author’s complicated relationship with her parents, siblings and extended family as well as her own mental illness after being diagnosed with a neurological disorder in her twenties. Now in her thirties, Wong has lived a very challenging life. Her grandparents, her parents and her Aunt have all had varying forms of mental il Lindsay Wong’s memoir, The Woo Woo, takes a look at growing up in a family plagued with mental illness. Equal parts heartbreaking and darkly comedic, The Woo Woo explores the author’s complicated relationship with her parents, siblings and extended family as well as her own mental illness after being diagnosed with a neurological disorder in her twenties. Now in her thirties, Wong has lived a very challenging life. Her grandparents, her parents and her Aunt have all had varying forms of mental illness, which led her to believe she would not be able to escape it herself. So, you can imagine growing up with the looming threat of everything from depression to schizophrenia hanging over your head would lead to constantly questioning your own mental state. Even though the bulk of this story takes place in the nineties and the early 2000s, it is not like we’ve really come close to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness despite countless public awareness campaigns. In Asian culture, it can be even more maligned. Its existence is often denied outright and completely ignored – so we get situations like Lindsay’s where it’s based on superstitions and ghosts. Given the heavy nature of the book, I did find it to be a difficult read, even with the comedic tone that it’s presented with. There are only so many times you can hear her parents calling her “a retard” before it begins to feel repetitive and loses its impact. I certainly do not want to make light of her struggles because I cannot even imagine growing up in the environment that she did (and mine wasn’t the best at times to be honest), but I didn’t really get as much out of this story as I expected given the effect the other four books in the Canada Reads competition had on me. The Woo Woo is proof that no matter how screwed up your upbringing, you can come out OK on the other side. Given all that Wong had to deal with by such an early age, it would not be shocking that she end up as a statistic rather than the successful writer she became. I don’t know if it can win the debates later on this month, but I’m looking forward to how Joe Zee defends it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    3.5 stars. This is the first book on the 2019 Canada Reads shortlist that I've read so far, and I'll mostly be reviewing it under that lens. This year's theme is 'a book to move you' and I do think that it fits the theme well. The Woo-Woo is a moving memoir because it highlights how, although mental illness is already so stigmatized and misunderstood within society in general, within many Asian cultures (in this case, Chinese) it's very often not even acknowledged at all, and because of this how e 3.5 stars. This is the first book on the 2019 Canada Reads shortlist that I've read so far, and I'll mostly be reviewing it under that lens. This year's theme is 'a book to move you' and I do think that it fits the theme well. The Woo-Woo is a moving memoir because it highlights how, although mental illness is already so stigmatized and misunderstood within society in general, within many Asian cultures (in this case, Chinese) it's very often not even acknowledged at all, and because of this how easy it is for individuals and families, just like Lindsay Wong's, to fall into extreme hardship, neglect, and even tragedy. Her story is one that centers on what it means to grow up in such a culture while more than one person in her family struggles with untreated various mental health issues, and the effects it has across the family and the impact it leaves. I'd actually say that the book would have been better suited toward last year's theme (a book to open your eyes), but still, as I've said, after having reading this I do agree that it's well-suited for this year's theme too. It's not a book I probably ever would have felt compelled to pick up on my own were it not for having been shortlisted for Canada Reads this year, but once I started to read through its chapters, I felt I could relate in a small way to Lindsay. We come from different cultures and had very different childhoods, but the significance of undiagnosed (and mistreated) mental illness left to run rampant in a family for generations with racial/cultural implications is something that I could definitely relate to. This is a very depressing and perplexing book, laced with dark humour and a quirky (though not obnoxious) writing style. Despite its humour cushion, I found the situations Lindsay described of her childhood still extremely hard to read through. The utter sadness behind her recollections and what it must have felt like to live them in the moment left me feeling very disturbed and saddened. There is some relief and light at the end of it all, so it's not like it's a torturous book to read by any means - it's just to say that even with it's dark humour, it's a book one should be in the right headspace to read. I'm not sure it will be my favourite of the Canada Reads contenders this year, or if it will even win the debates, but I'm glad it made the shortlist either way. Linsday Wong's story is a tough one for sure, but her writing is skilled and (because of the often whimsical spin she put on her storytelling) accessible, and so I think this really is a great memoir to move people to want to understand mental health issues, especially within different cultures, more thoroughly.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sierra Gemma

    This is a great book about family, abuse, and mental health. It is a dark, dark, dark comedy. I think the subtitle (no doubt chosen by the publisher and not the author) makes the book seem like it is going to be more about hockey and drug raids than it is. I'm guessing the publisher wanted a subtitle that they thought might sell more copies. I hope it works because this is the kind of fantastic memoir that is hard to summarize in such a way that makes it sound as enjoyable as it was. Like if I w This is a great book about family, abuse, and mental health. It is a dark, dark, dark comedy. I think the subtitle (no doubt chosen by the publisher and not the author) makes the book seem like it is going to be more about hockey and drug raids than it is. I'm guessing the publisher wanted a subtitle that they thought might sell more copies. I hope it works because this is the kind of fantastic memoir that is hard to summarize in such a way that makes it sound as enjoyable as it was. Like if I were to describe the book, I would call it a dark memoir about how mental illness is impacted by culture and vice versa. That doesn't sound like something you would want to read, but actually it is! This book is definitely up there in the Top 10 best memoirs I've read, along with Angela's Ashes, The Glass Castle, Running with Scissors, and Lucky. It is an unforgettable book about a girl who grew up without any of the emotional and physical kindnesses that we assume children will receive from their parents, but instead with physical and verbal abuse and emotional and intellectual neglect, and yet the author figures out—surely, but very slowly—how to become a person. There is a great line from the book that I think sums it up quite perfectly: "I could not have made up this anecdotal horror production if I tried." As someone who also came from a really rough background, this was the perfect description for how I feel about my own childhood!

  6. 5 out of 5

    ❀ Susan G

    I struggled to finish The Woo Woo. I sure hope that some of the situations were embellished and have to wonder what her family thinks of their dysfunction not only being part of a novel but highlighted for Canada Reads. The book made me appreciate my old childhood experience even more than I do but I really had trouble reading about the dreadful family dynamics, verbal and physical abuse.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    Memoirs are hard to review. I feel weird and out of place reviewing and rating someones life. When I rate and review memoirs it is more about if I had a good time reading the book, did the story move me, the writing style...I try very hard not to judge the choices the authors make in memoirs, it is their life, not mine and therefore I am not allowed to "rate" it. So the Woo Woo, based on my 3 star review basically means I had an alright time reading this, the writing was okay and Wong's story di Memoirs are hard to review. I feel weird and out of place reviewing and rating someones life. When I rate and review memoirs it is more about if I had a good time reading the book, did the story move me, the writing style...I try very hard not to judge the choices the authors make in memoirs, it is their life, not mine and therefore I am not allowed to "rate" it. So the Woo Woo, based on my 3 star review basically means I had an alright time reading this, the writing was okay and Wong's story did keep me interested. This book is by far the most chaotic I've ever read. Lindsay Wong writes about her life growing up in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada and how her family didn't believe in mental illness. With a severely depressed and paranoid mother, a schizophrenic grandmother and a father who told her how useless she was, Lindsay Wong tells us the story of how she survived this mess. I don't think I would recommend everyone go out and read this novel. It is sad. It made me angry at times. It is clear that is a story of what happens when mental health issues/diseases are not taken care of. Often described as "darkly comedic", I did find some things funny but mostly the book really disturbed me. Although this book and the fact that it exists is proof that you aren't always the product of your upbringing. Lindsay should be proud of herself for going against her family grain and showing the world the dark side of mental illness in her story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joanne MacNevin

    I found this book difficult to read. The subject matter was difficult, and, as much as I don't like to say this about an autobiographical work of non-fiction, the characters were very unlikeable and therefore made for hard reading. There were a lot of sections in this book where I could barely stand to read the dialogue between characters because they were so mean to one another. One thing I would have liked more of in the book is how she managed to persevere and get a degree with such a debilit I found this book difficult to read. The subject matter was difficult, and, as much as I don't like to say this about an autobiographical work of non-fiction, the characters were very unlikeable and therefore made for hard reading. There were a lot of sections in this book where I could barely stand to read the dialogue between characters because they were so mean to one another. One thing I would have liked more of in the book is how she managed to persevere and get a degree with such a debilitating illness. The narrator is obviously strong and resilient, but in this book, she paints herself, persistently, as angry and mean. A little more on her battle and subsequent success would have been interesting. I only read this book because it is a Canada Reads contender.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elise Buller

    ((2.5)) I feel bad but I just didn’t really like this book. The first 100 pages I was pretty into it and enjoyed the authors writing and humorous way of recalling her childhood but after that it became a chore to get through. She had a great story to tell but I felt like it became just really repetitive and boring? She was very distanced from everything and I realize in real life there isn’t always a nice clean happy ending tying things up but I would have appreciated some more personal growth o ((2.5)) I feel bad but I just didn’t really like this book. The first 100 pages I was pretty into it and enjoyed the authors writing and humorous way of recalling her childhood but after that it became a chore to get through. She had a great story to tell but I felt like it became just really repetitive and boring? She was very distanced from everything and I realize in real life there isn’t always a nice clean happy ending tying things up but I would have appreciated some more personal growth or reflection at the end of the book? Or at the very least a deeper discussion about mental health?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laleh

    It must have taken Lindsay Wong a great amount of courage to write this story. It is not easy to talk about mental illness and to reveal yours and your family's demons- woo woos- to the entire world to judge. I found quite a few repeating passages and parts that could have been edited out.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Painful. Just painful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    I'm not sure what inspired the author to write about her odious family but it is neither interesting nor entertaining.

  13. 4 out of 5

    MJ Beauchamp

    Lindsay Wong has a smart and creative way with words. I am happy to see her memoir considered for Canada Reads 2019, it is funny and depressing in an uplifting kind of way, very bizarre. A somewhat unique voice, very well executed. Only real low point for me is that the "fun in dysfunctional family" story has been done and done already (The Glass Castle, Running with Scissors, ...) - I feel I've simply read one too many.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    As a fellow Asian Vancouverite who comes from a large and very close extended Asian family, I mildly enjoyed this memoir. The writing is crude, salty and brash, quite unlike any of the other books that are shortlisted for Canada Reads 2019; often I questioned if I was laughing because it was funny, or because the most callous uses of profanity and verbal abuse (the norm in this family) were being spouted so flippantly between the characters. Then again, who am I to judge the author's recollectio As a fellow Asian Vancouverite who comes from a large and very close extended Asian family, I mildly enjoyed this memoir. The writing is crude, salty and brash, quite unlike any of the other books that are shortlisted for Canada Reads 2019; often I questioned if I was laughing because it was funny, or because the most callous uses of profanity and verbal abuse (the norm in this family) were being spouted so flippantly between the characters. Then again, who am I to judge the author's recollections of verbal exchanges between her and her family members. My major issue with this book is that it is fairly one-note, with characters well-defined, but under developed. Coming from a large and often highly emotionally charged Asian family, I understand that there are the words that are actually uttered, and there is also the underlying and unspoken subtext, the history and the emotion that infuses the conversation and the silences between them. I wanted to understand more of that subtext, so that I could better understand the journey this family takes together while dealing with multiple cases of mental illness. Towards the end of the book, there is sequence where Lindsay's father, at a crucial juncture, does something quite out of character, which she recognizes right away and is not quite sure how to interpret it. I loved that sequence, but I felt it was a little too late, as if a caricature had instantly transformed into a real person. I was disappointed that I wasn't given the opportunity to learn more about this person and his complicated relationship with his daughter in the preceding two hundred pages.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Poorly written, mean, and vulgar. Also, although I'm sure there is a kernel of truth in this memoir, it reeked of exaggeration and hyperbole. I guess that's what was supposed to make it "witty"? It's a shame this book was selected for Canada Reads.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    This is a great memoir about growing up in a Chinese family with mental health issues. There's a lot of dark humour involved, and Lindsay Wong, the author, doesn't pull any punches and shows the dark side of what has happened in her family. However, as someone who suffers mental health issues myself, I found some parts of this really hard to read. I'm glad it was written and I hope more people read it. I think it's a very important story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    2.5 stars. The Woo-Woo is an unflinching, yet emotionally distant, memoir which chronicles the author’s experiences growing up in her dysfunctional Chinese-Canadian family. Wong’s childhood and young adulthood is filled with verbal/physical abuse and neglect, and she struggles with many aspects of her life including making friends and forming a healthy relationship with food. The members of her family clearly suffer from mental disturbances and illnesses, yet they distrust doctors and psychiatris 2.5 stars. The Woo-Woo is an unflinching, yet emotionally distant, memoir which chronicles the author’s experiences growing up in her dysfunctional Chinese-Canadian family. Wong’s childhood and young adulthood is filled with verbal/physical abuse and neglect, and she struggles with many aspects of her life including making friends and forming a healthy relationship with food. The members of her family clearly suffer from mental disturbances and illnesses, yet they distrust doctors and psychiatrists, preferring to believe that they are plagued by Chinese ghosts, who they refer to as the Woo-Woo. Wong witnesses their irrational, and untreated, behaviour, including suicide attempts (one of which made national news in Canada), all while fearing that the Woo-Woo may someday possess her. I commend Wong for writing about her family so openly. In the last few pages of the book, she writes: “No one would ever believe me if I told them about all the wondrous and terrible and fantastical things that had happened to me.” – and it really is hard to believe at times. I am sure that she was quite aware that her memoir and the events depicted in it would elicit negative responses from some readers, yet she wrote it anyways. There is power in that, and I hope it served a therapeutic purpose for her. However, I feel as though she wasn’t quite ready to write/publish this book, and I kept hoping for more reflection/growth from Wong (besides simple statements such as “I know now…” or “I recognize now…”). The writing felt repetitive and would have benefited from some editing. While I can’t say that I enjoyed reading this book, I appreciate Wong’s honesty and bravery and I think her work will have the power to help those in similar situations.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Savannah

    Mostly, I’m just glad to be done reading this book. It felt extremely disconnected, which reading it does make sense that it would be that way. It also was only emotional in a weirdly reflective way? For such an emotional book with so many crazy things happening it just felt flat.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Macleod

    3.5 ⭐ This book reminded me of The Glass Castle and Educated. *CBC Canada Reads book 3.5 ⭐️ This book reminded me of The Glass Castle and Educated. *CBC Canada Reads book

  20. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Van

    A touching and darkly humorous memoir about growing up in a Canadian Chinese family in "Hongcouver" which blames their psychiatric woes on ghosts and demons known as "the woo-woos, from her mother, who sees camping in a Walmart parking lot as the only safe haven to escape the spirits of the dead, to a beloved psychotic aunt who holds Vancouver hostage for eight hours when she threatens to jump off a bridge. Wong manages to escape to New York to do a MFA at Columbia when she fears the woo-woos ar A touching and darkly humorous memoir about growing up in a Canadian Chinese family in "Hongcouver" which blames their psychiatric woes on ghosts and demons known as "the woo-woos, from her mother, who sees camping in a Walmart parking lot as the only safe haven to escape the spirits of the dead, to a beloved psychotic aunt who holds Vancouver hostage for eight hours when she threatens to jump off a bridge. Wong manages to escape to New York to do a MFA at Columbia when she fears the woo-woos are coming for her too. For fans of the "So you think your life is shit..." genre of memoir a la "Glass Castle" and "Educated".

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gail Amendt

    Canada Reads has introduced me to some good books. This is not one of them. Canada Reads should promote books that further our understanding of minorities, immigrants, and other marginalized groups. This book for me created more stereotypes than it broke down. It is supposed to be a story about a woman overcoming her childhood in a family afflicted with mental health challenges and ancient Chinese beliefs about demon possession, but the things she describes are so extreme as to be unbelievable, Canada Reads has introduced me to some good books. This is not one of them. Canada Reads should promote books that further our understanding of minorities, immigrants, and other marginalized groups. This book for me created more stereotypes than it broke down. It is supposed to be a story about a woman overcoming her childhood in a family afflicted with mental health challenges and ancient Chinese beliefs about demon possession, but the things she describes are so extreme as to be unbelievable, and she tells little about how she actually managed to survive and become a person capable of writing a book. I couldn't wait for it to be over, and wouldn't have stuck it out if it hadn't been for Canada Reads.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    I can only hope that the Canada Reads panel provides me with insight about why this book is so extraordinary. I feel for Wong's emotionally-charged childhood, and the constant presence of mental illness in her family, but the writing is choppy, and there are way too many descriptors or metaphors or examples or on and on and on (someone needs to edit it!). I struggled to read it. Before the Epilogue, it ENDS thus: (view spoiler)["I felt that I had not been entirely Chosen by the Woo-Woo, and I was I can only hope that the Canada Reads panel provides me with insight about why this book is so extraordinary. I feel for Wong's emotionally-charged childhood, and the constant presence of mental illness in her family, but the writing is choppy, and there are way too many descriptors or metaphors or examples or on and on and on (someone needs to edit it!). I struggled to read it. Before the Epilogue, it ENDS thus: (view spoiler)["I felt that I had not been entirely Chosen by the Woo-Woo, and I was somewhat safe for now. So I slipped off my shoes, removed my jacket and belt, and watched them float, as if by sheet miraculous gravitation, past me on the conveyor belt." (hide spoiler)] Thus it BEGINS in a Prologue: "'Miss Wong, you are seriously ill,' the neurologist in a midtown office said, preparing me a sympathy tissue. But I was dry-eyed and benignly frosty, my way of responding to shitty news. It wasn't like me to fake a ladylike smile, or even to cry."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Abandoned at 30%. This memoir is a stark look at a dysfunctional family burdened by undiagnosed mental illness and immigrant stoicism, but I got tired of the repetitiveness. In every chapter the same incidents are repeated over and over: her dad calls her stupid, crying brings on demons, she has no friends, her mom has an episode. I would have liked the author to spend more time discussing the impact of this upbringing, the underlying mental illnesses, the damaging effect of stigma and family sh Abandoned at 30%. This memoir is a stark look at a dysfunctional family burdened by undiagnosed mental illness and immigrant stoicism, but I got tired of the repetitiveness. In every chapter the same incidents are repeated over and over: her dad calls her stupid, crying brings on demons, she has no friends, her mom has an episode. I would have liked the author to spend more time discussing the impact of this upbringing, the underlying mental illnesses, the damaging effect of stigma and family shame - and maybe she gets there eventually, but too late for me, because I grew tired of the narrative's bleak misery. (And I did not find any of what I read “darkly comedic”.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Duncan McCurdie

    I don't read many memoirs by non famous people as I have the impression/worry that they are going to be either misery drenched or rags to riches gloating. However The Woo Woo is a delightful rebuttal to my prejudice. What makes this memoir so good is Lindsay Wong's writing, it is much much funnier, albeit acerbic and caustically, than you would ever imagine from a basic description of the events and themes discussed. I'm not sure I would have picked up this book had it not been part of Canada Re I don't read many memoirs by non famous people as I have the impression/worry that they are going to be either misery drenched or rags to riches gloating. However The Woo Woo is a delightful rebuttal to my prejudice. What makes this memoir so good is Lindsay Wong's writing, it is much much funnier, albeit acerbic and caustically, than you would ever imagine from a basic description of the events and themes discussed. I'm not sure I would have picked up this book had it not been part of Canada Reads and for me this is exactly what makes Canada Reads worthwhile.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This book is written with a dark, frequently cruel humor. This seems to be the authors way of handling memories of her neglectful and at times downright abusive upbringing. It couldn’t have been that bad if it’s funny right? Right?? This style of writing will likely be off putting to many readers. There is no sensitivity or empathy here for the many mentally ill people in the authors life but there is a shocking honesty in how the author expresses her frustration, embarrassment, and anger at her This book is written with a dark, frequently cruel humor. This seems to be the authors way of handling memories of her neglectful and at times downright abusive upbringing. It couldn’t have been that bad if it’s funny right? Right?? This style of writing will likely be off putting to many readers. There is no sensitivity or empathy here for the many mentally ill people in the authors life but there is a shocking honesty in how the author expresses her frustration, embarrassment, and anger at her family’s issues.

  26. 5 out of 5

    George Ilsley

    Some stories are stranger than fiction. This one is a story of resilience, and survival, and can be overwhelming to read. There is a lot to process here -- and this reading experience must be just a tiny glimmer of what the author experienced in her upbringing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eryn Prince

    The most beautiful and heartbreaking nuances in this memoir come from the narrator’s unflinching honesty. I believe that some people take issue with the fact that the author dictates her experiences in a way that doesn’t always paint her as the heroine of her own story, but what they are missing is the beauty of that authenticity. If you’re looking for a read that satisfies you in the predictable way that a novel does then this book will not suit you. Life is messy and brutal and real. It doesn’t The most beautiful and heartbreaking nuances in this memoir come from the narrator’s unflinching honesty. I believe that some people take issue with the fact that the author dictates her experiences in a way that doesn’t always paint her as the heroine of her own story, but what they are missing is the beauty of that authenticity. If you’re looking for a read that satisfies you in the predictable way that a novel does then this book will not suit you. Life is messy and brutal and real. It doesn’t always come to a climax and then spin lazily into perfectly wrapped up happily ever afters. Lindsay Wong’s upbringings, her entire life, was existing on constant high alert. With the dial constantly up to ten the only point beyond that is breaking. I love this book for its honesty and bravery. To tell the story of a familial history of undiagnosed mental illness and the effects it has generationally, is so very necessary and I commend the author for speaking her truth as she lives it, in the midst of it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vontel

    Challenging book to read, raw & sad although fairly well written, with some personal hope by the end. Good for a more thorough description of fairly recent wave Chinese immigrants, particularly sparked in the Vancouver area by the imminent return of Hong Kong to China in the 1990s. The book would have benefited from some more editing, given the endless repetition and description of more traditional Chinese cultural attitudes toward mental illness & expressions of emotions & of behavi Challenging book to read, raw & sad although fairly well written, with some personal hope by the end. Good for a more thorough description of fairly recent wave Chinese immigrants, particularly sparked in the Vancouver area by the imminent return of Hong Kong to China in the 1990s. The book would have benefited from some more editing, given the endless repetition and description of more traditional Chinese cultural attitudes toward mental illness & expressions of emotions & of behaviours arising out of undiagnosed/untreated mental illnesses, and particularly within her own immediate & extended family. The Woo-Woo was nominated for the Hilary Weston Prize for non-fiction in 2018. In some ways, this first novel reminds me of Evelyn Lau's early books.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Solid 4 stars: This is probably the first memoir I’ve ever read that actually kept my attention and made me want to keep reading. Memoirs and biographies aren’t my favorite genre of books to read but this book caught my attention when it was selected for Canada Reads. I was particularly interested as I am Chinese Canadian and this is a story about a Chinese Canadian family and mental health - two topics that are rarely ever discussed together. Although the topic of mental illness isn’t as extrem Solid 4 stars: This is probably the first memoir I’ve ever read that actually kept my attention and made me want to keep reading. Memoirs and biographies aren’t my favorite genre of books to read but this book caught my attention when it was selected for Canada Reads. I was particularly interested as I am Chinese Canadian and this is a story about a Chinese Canadian family and mental health - two topics that are rarely ever discussed together. Although the topic of mental illness isn’t as extreme in my family as the Wong family, it is definitely a taboo topic and not easily brought up around the adults. I expected to read something relatable and similar to my own family’s experiences of avoidance and blindness, but it was totally not what I was expecting. A lot more dramatic and bizarre than I was expecting, but in a good way? I didn’t know how to feel while I was reading this book. There were moments of anger, pity, sadness, and sometimes a glimmer of happiness. This book takes you through it all. Apart from bridging this gap between discussions of mental health and Asian communities, it also exposes the generational impact of mental illness. One of the lines that stood out while I was reading was this: “We were a product of untreated mental illness that had escalated for generations.” There are so many things to unpack about this line and this book. The importance of getting treatment and help for mental illness, the importance of recognizing it affects not only the person but everyone around them and that it can have lasting effects on generations to come. Would 100% recommend this book. It made me uncomfortable, but within that discomfort I was able to learn and expose myself to something new.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    The Woo-Woo: How I survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raid, Demons and My Crazy Chinese Family, a daring piece of non-fiction on the subject of mental illness, tells the story of a dysfunctional immigrant Chinese family in Vancouver. The protagonist Lindsay survives through a childhood where she battles with a grandmother who is paranoid schizophrenic, a mother who lives in fear of demons and a father who belittles his children continuously. The Woo Woo is Lindsay Wong’s first novel. The book starts with The Woo-Woo: How I survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raid, Demons and My Crazy Chinese Family, a daring piece of non-fiction on the subject of mental illness, tells the story of a dysfunctional immigrant Chinese family in Vancouver. The protagonist Lindsay survives through a childhood where she battles with a grandmother who is paranoid schizophrenic, a mother who lives in fear of demons and a father who belittles his children continuously. The Woo Woo is Lindsay Wong’s first novel. The book starts with Lindsay, a fine arts student, being relieved to find that she has an actual physical illness and is not mentally ill like her grandmother or invaded by the evil demons like her mother. In a flashback, Lindsay takes us back to when she is a very young girl living in a drug-dealing neighbourhood with her dysfunctional family. Her Mother takes her and her siblings to the mall all day long so that they can keep walking and out maneuver the evil demons or “Woo-Woo” who are trying to invade their bodies. Her father pays her to beat up her opponents during hockey games and constantly tells her that she is dumb so she will need to know how to be tough to ward off the Woo-Woo. I do admire Lindsay for writing a book like this and I hope it is rather soothing for her to do so. For me it is too depressing. Having experience with mental illness in my family I find no humour in it at all and for that reason I find this book to be a difficult read. There is a lot of repetition in the book and I feel it can be improved greatly with some strict editing. I cannot recommend this book to most readers but I do see that it provides some insight into what families dealing with mental illness have to cope with on a day to say basis. I give it a 3 on 5.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.