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The Woo-Woo
The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family | Lindsay Wong
26 posts | 14 read | 1 reading | 8 to read
In this jaw-dropping, darkly comedic memoir, a young woman comes of age in a dysfunctional Asian family who blame their woes on ghosts and demons when they should really be 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; when she was six, Lindsay and her mother avoided the dead people haunting their house by hiding out in a mall food court, and on a camping trip, in an effort to rid her daughter of demons, her mother tried to light Lindsay's foot on fire. The eccentricities take a dark turn, however, when her aunt, suffering from a psychotic breakdown, holds the city hostage for eight hours when she threatens to jump off a bridge. And when Lindsay starts to experience symptoms of the woo-woo herself, she wonders whether she will suffer the same fate as her family. At once a witty and touching memoir about the Asian immigrant experience and 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.
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amyf0x
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Pickpick

Wong‘s immensely captivating (and at times deeply unsettling) biography delves into the ways her Chinese family dealt with mental health issues, the ‘demons‘ that plagued her mother especially, as immigrants living in a Vancouver suburb.

Read August 18-26
Book 45/55

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Bibliogeekery
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Mehso-so

This book didn't really work for me overall. There were moments when I appreciated Wong's sardonic view of the complex mental health problems in her family but at other times it felt like she was turning an awful situation into entertainment that reinforced negative stereotypes of Chinese people and made light of some serious abuse she faced. I get what she was going for, and she really lived through a lot, it just didn't completely land for me.

Bibliogeekery @BookishTrish - what did you think of this one? 6mo
BookishTrish I thought it wasn‘t quite the balance I wanted. On the one hand she created distance between herself and her issues (and her family‘s) which meant there was no emotional resonance. I wonder if sitting on the story for a few years would‘ve helped. 6mo
Bibliogeekery @BookishTrish such an interesting point. It would be so interesting to know if she'd write it differently after some time passed! 6mo
Dragon I heard the author on the radio and was intrigued with this book. After reading your review I think I‘ll probably not buy it. Thanks for the review. 👍🐉 6mo
57 likes4 comments
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Bibliogeekery
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Lindy 🌸😊 (edited) 6mo
BookishTrish I want to know what you think of this one 6mo
Bibliogeekery @BookishTrish I'm having mixed feelings about it. I'll let you know! 6mo
59 likes3 comments
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StellaDz
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Bailedbailed

With 1 hour left, I‘m dropping this. I‘m shaking my head in disgust. For a memoir, it‘s crass and insensitive towards mental health, cultural differences and basically anything else it touches on. It comes across as a series of shock-value stories, that have no reason other than to offend.

⭐️

StellaDz @CoverToCoverGirl that was basically my face while listening. It was hard to judge because she‘s talking about her own mental illness in her family, but it just wanted presented well. I was also tired of hearing the R word. It‘s like the most used word in the book. 6mo
7 likes2 comments
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StellaDz
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My friend let me trial her Audible before I make the leap (I‘ll probably be making the leap), and so this is my first audiobook! Boy, does it make you grateful for your family 😳. #currentlylistening

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Lindy
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Oh no! I knew my loan on this ebook had run out before I finished it, but I expected to be able to check it out again. Nope, it‘s not in Hoopla anymore. I will have to get a paper copy. Unfortunately, there are 152 people waiting ahead of me. What I love about Hoopla is there‘s never a waiting list because the libraries pay per download.

LibrarianRyan It‘s weird it‘s no longer in the collection. Since libraries pay per download they never add or remove titles from the catalog. I wonder if hoopla works like Netflix. 7mo
LibrarianRyan My hoopla still has it listed. Wait a bit and retry. Or maybe tomorrow. It may just be a tech issue today. 7mo
Lindy @LibrarianRyan Good idea. I will try again in a few days. Meanwhile, I was able to download a chunkster from Hoopla: 7mo
LibrarianRyan @Lindy that looks interesting. I‘m sorry the library is going to have to pay for the book I‘m currently listening to. I‘m pretty sure I‘m going to bail. 7mo
Lindy @LibrarianRyan Well, the library pays for its collection in one way or another. I hope your next book is better. 😐 7mo
31 likes5 comments
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Bibliogeekery
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Next up! (audiobook)
I always have at least an audiobook, a novel, a non-fiction work-related book, a book club book with my nieces, and a book I'm reading with my partner on the go. Anyone else?

Jenken1998 🙋‍♀️ 2 novels, 1 nf and 1 audio in progress now 7mo
Bibliogeekery @Jenken1998 ha! Yep! Sounds like me! 7mo
rretzler 1 audio and 1 Kindle always. Usually also 1 paper and a book with one or both of my sons 7mo
Theaelizabet One paper, one audio, one ebook (for middle-of-the-night reading). 7mo
43 likes1 stack add4 comments
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LaraS

Think I‘m going to start trying this approach at work:

Unsure of what to say, I blurted hurriedly, “Do you want to be my friend? If you don‘t, it‘s okay. I don‘t want to waste any time, so you should tell me right away.”

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LaraS

The Woo-Woo
Our house had been christened the Belcarra by its builder in an effort to make everyone forget it was a boxy McMansion.

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Lindy
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E.T. synchronicity in concurrent books:
“With his abnormally large head and thin, crooked tree-branch limbs, Uncle E.T. had been a victim of malicious childhood polio and was nicknamed after Spielberg‘s deformed alien.” -Lindsay Wong
“Misha lies on the couch, eyeing the smouldering end of his cigarette. ‘E.T., call home,‘ he says, holding his finger a hair‘s breadth from the orange tip.” -Alex Leslie

Lindy And Richard Van Camp has an ET story in his latest collection: 7mo
38 likes1 stack add1 comment
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llwheeler
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Broke a pretty good streak of Picks... just not in the right headspace for this one at the moment. Might come back to it, might not. Who knows.

Another sign of my mood is that I'm 1-4 chapters into like 5 different books... pretty sure one of them will grab me. Or maybe I'll start another one or two 🙃

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xicanti
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He stood guard while I watched Canada Reads.

It‘s been a little while since it aired on the West Coast, so I think I‘m safe to say I‘m pleased with today‘s result. For once, my favourite book WASN‘T eliminated first! Yay!

bluejanetennessee Look at that sweet face! 😍❤ 8mo
xicanti @bluejanetennessee he‘s a totally cutie. 8mo
Susannah Aww, what a sweet boy! 8mo
xicanti @Susannah he‘s the very sweetest. 8mo
wordzie ❤🐕 8mo
65 likes5 comments
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candority
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Mehso-so

This is an unflinching, yet emotionally distant, memoir which chronicles the author‘s dysfunctional Chinese-Canadian family. Several members of her family suffer from undiagnosed mental illnesses, which they believe are caused by Chinese ghosts. Her memoir is filled with abuse and neglect, and while I commend her for writing so openly, I was hoping for more reflection/growth, and the book would have benefited from some editing #CanadaReads2019

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merelybookish
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Ugh this book... It's a bit of a slog. The mental illness and resulting family dysfunction described is pretty mind-boggling. And maybe black humour is one way to recount such a story. But it isn't working for me. I commend Lindsay Wong's honesty but as a reader, I just don't feel she was ready (artistically or therapeutically) to write this.

merelybookish It doesn't help that I just read this beautifully written collection about living with mental illness. 9mo
AlaMich I just DNFed the audio version halfway through. I felt she related all the terrible things that she endured like they were a laundry list. There was also a lot of repetition, and after a while I just couldn‘t anymore. 9mo
merelybookish @AlaMich Yes, loads of repetition. I still have a few chapters left and plan to see it through. But I feel a bit like her editor and publisher failed her. 9mo
AlaMich @merelybookish that‘s exactly it! She needed more guidance. 9mo
Melissa_J I DNF‘d it. The way it was written just didn‘t work for me. 9mo
68 likes5 comments
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Melissa_J
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Bailedbailed

I don‘t like bailing on a #CanadaReads2019 contender, but I cannot continue with this. I don‘t find this memoir ‘darkly comedic‘ or touching, I instead find it disturbing. The author tells her story in such a detached manner that, while understandable, made it very hard for me to emphasize with her despite being absolutely appalled by her upbringing.

Of the five contenders, I see this one generating the most intense debate.

LeahBergen The debates should be interesting this year! 9mo
42 likes1 comment
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AlaMich
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I‘ve been having miserable luck with audiobooks lately. I have started and rejected three in the last week. I find that I am becoming pickier, with more requirements for my audiobook choices.
But this sounds good, in both senses of the word. And it‘s a #canadareads book. Even better! #audiobooks

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Melissa_J
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So far today I‘ve:

✅ Finished a book 📚
✅ Taken Ellie to the vet 🐶
✅ Made sure my daughter got Shawn Mendes concert tickets 🎫 and
✅ Taken my daughter to the mall 🛍💸

Now it‘s time to read!! These are the four books I‘m currently reading. Not sure which one I‘ll start with this afternoon as I‘m sort of in the mood for all of them.

tpixie Great accomplishments!! Spent 1/2 hour with each book!!! 🥳📚🥳 9mo
CouronneDhiver Wow - go mom! 😃😃 9mo
LeahBergen Wow. You‘re way more accomplished than I! 😆😆 9mo
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Cathythoughts I like your checklist ✅. Very impressive 9mo
TrishB I‘ve had a bath and now feeling very unaccomplished 😁 enjoy the rest of your day! 9mo
Melissa_J @tpixie that was a good suggestion, and one I had planned to follow. I got caught up in The Winter People though, so it ended up being the only book I read. 9mo
Melissa_J @CouronneDhiver sometimes I manage to get stuff done and not just read 😂 9mo
Melissa_J @LeahBergen definitely a one off, I‘m back to being my normal non-productive self now 😝 9mo
Melissa_J @Cathythoughts thank you ☺️It‘s not usually quite so impressive! 9mo
Melissa_J @TrishB ha ha! I‘m not planning to be very productive today 😉 9mo
Aussie4paws Is Ellie ok? 9mo
Melissa_J @aussie4paws yes, thanks for asking. Just a visit as a part of her annual check-up. 9mo
tpixie @Melissa_J glad you enjoyed The Winter People!! 9mo
55 likes13 comments
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xicanti
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Bailedbailed

Canada Reads is great because it introduces people to important books they might have missed.

Canada Reads is frustrating because you (ie, I) feel shitty about bailing on those important books.

Lindsay Wong adds a Chinese-Canadian perspective to the My Childhood Was Awful And I Thought That Was Normal genre. That COUNTS. The first 50% is also so utterly lacking in empathy, and so packed with ableist slurs, that I dreaded picking it up. ⬇️

xicanti On top of that, the writing veers between polished and slapdash. Wong repeats herself a LOT, sometimes across chapters and sometimes three times in a single, short paragraph. It irked me. Add in a strong authorial preference for American terminology and I'm out. I get more than enough of that from US writers, thanks. #CanadaReads 9mo
merelybookish I'm reading this now. I'm sticking with it, but I do find the tone off. It feels like there's a story to tell but she's not mature enough (as a writer, as a person) to tell it effectively. 9mo
Coffeedaily My Childhood Was Awful And I Thought It Was Normal genre is exactly what I find fascinating but never could label it so well. So thanks. 9mo
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BookishTrish @xicanti I agree with a lot of what you say and couldn‘t help but feel the author needs more time and therapy before she can write this story 💯 Right now her tendency to use humour as a deflection / substitute for feeling creates a disturbing distance between the reader and the material. 9mo
xicanti @merelybookish I feel like there were flashes where she nailed it, but on the whole I agree. 9mo
xicanti @Coffeedaily always happy to help. 9mo
xicanti @BookishTrish very much so. I'm sure there IS some sort of a turnaround in the second half, too, but the part I read gave me no reason to hope for change. 9mo
AlaMich I‘m about 1/3 of the way into the audio version of this and I agree with everyone‘s comments. So much repetition, and waayyy too many similes!! I agree with @BookishTrish that the tone is off also. I‘ll keep plowing through and hope it improves. 9mo
xicanti @AlaMich good luck! I hope it evens out for you in the back half. 9mo
Melissa_J I just bailed on this one, so I‘m glad someone else did too. I‘ve read the other four Canada Reads books, but even though I can‘t bring myself to finish this one I think it will generate the most discussion. 9mo
xicanti @Melissa_J I'm definitely eager for the panelists' thoughts. 9mo
40 likes11 comments
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JacqMac
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Pickpick

This family. So dysfunctional. I cringed a lot. I found it very hard to read about the abuse. It was so raw and ugly. Mental illness does not excuse abuse. The story does give some insight into what happens when mental illnesses go untreated and what happens when people don‘t trust “western medicine”. The author seemed a bit detached and used dark humor a lot. Understandably though. It had to be very painful to share.
#CanadaReads2019

Melissa_J I‘ll be starting this one tomorrow. Wonder what I‘ll think of it? 9mo
JacqMac @Melissa_J I wonder, too. I lliked it and didn‘t like it at the same time. I‘m glad I read it, but I‘m not sure I‘d recommend it. 9mo
candority I feel that same way as you, @JacqMac! 8mo
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JacqMac
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The kids are frantically getting ready for school and I‘m just sitting here, with my book, having some tea. The Wong family is messed up! I have housework to do, but I‘m considering taking a me day with the Wongs instead.
#CanadaReads2019

merelybookish I'm reading this right now as well. Dysfunctional is an understatement. 😲 9mo
60 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BookishTrish
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Pickpick

The first of the #CanadaReads shortlist 2019 = done! I think Wong uses dark humour to remove herself from her very uncomfortable reality which sometimes creates distance between the reader and the narrative. For that reason I‘m skeptical if its chances of being declared the ‘one book to move us.‘ Wong is a very good writer though and I hope she at least makes it past the first round.

LeahBergen Emily Carr painting. 👏🏻👏🏻 9mo
BookishTrish @LeahBergen Of Woo the monkey no less! 9mo
75 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Melissa_J
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It‘s snowing madly out again today 🙄 so I went to the bookstore 📚 With the three pictured books purchased, I have now completed my #CanadaReads2019 collection. Must now make time to read them before the end of March.

CouronneDhiver Damn. I was hoping the snow was melting there too. 😂 10mo
Melissa_J @CouronneDhiver Monday. It‘s supposed to rain. Then Wed is is supposed to snow again. When are you coming? 10mo
CouronneDhiver Monday evening? I‘m not 100% sure. My sister is trying to get home from Africa on time. 10mo
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JacqMac Windchill is -36 today. I was going to go to the bookstore, but I think I might settle for the ebooks. Lol 10mo
Melissa_J @JacqMac winter sucks! I don‘t blame you for not wanting to go outside. However, the books are all on sale if you are looking for the Canada Reads books. 10mo
JacqMac @Melissa_J I am. Thanks for the info! I do have to go out tomorrow, so maybe I‘ll brave going. I mean it‘s a book sale. 10mo
70 likes6 comments
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StephanieMarie
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My February #TBR. Nine of which I have out from the library right now all at once because I have no willpower #sendhelp ! I love this journal but wish it had more space!

The tagged book is the one I'm starting first (for #Canadareads of course!)

Butterfinger I have 9 from the library too. We have no self control. Lol. 10mo
StephanieMarie @Butterfinger it started with 6 and then holds kept coming in!! I have a lot of reading ahead of me 10mo
13 likes2 comments
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xicanti
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The Canada Reads shortlist is out! I've adjusted my library holds accordingly. It looks like a good crop with mental health rep, a refugee memoir, a French novel, and a Holocaust memoir in the mix, but I'm disappointed none of the Indigenous titles from the longlist made the final cut. Needless to say, I haven't cancelled my holds for any of them even though they won't be in the competition. #canadareads

ju.ca.no I have to admit that I havn‘t heard of this before - but I love that Chuck Comeau is involved - Simple Plan was my absolute favourite band when I was a Teenager! 😂 10mo
xicanti @ju.ca.no it's a big yearly event here! Each of the celebrities defends one of the books in a series of televised/streamed debates that're also broadcast on the radio. 10mo
tournevis @ju.ca.no I k ow something you might not about Chuck. He cannot dance for the life of him. Like white-guy dance syndrome. 10mo
ju.ca.no @xicanti sounds awesome! 10mo
ju.ca.no @tournevis haha I can very well imagine that😂😂 10mo
42 likes5 comments
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BookishTrish
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For you, Danielle @CouronneDhiver

CouronneDhiver that settles it. i‘m coming over. lol 🧤☕️🧣✈️ 10mo
CouronneDhiver i‘m literally hiding under a heap of blankets beside a space heater. poor ol‘ house is leaky. 10mo
BookishTrish I‘ll put the kettle on 😂 10mo
78 likes1 stack add3 comments
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BookishTrish
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Starting this #CanadaReads longlister in front of a toasty fire in solidarity with Canadians experiencing #snowpocalypse Its +4c here today. (I almost had to zip up my coat.) The blossoms are for @CouronneDhiver

CouronneDhiver 😂😂 show off. send some warm vibes our way. lol 10mo
Cinfhen Beautiful photo!! How‘s the book so far??? 10mo
79 likes2 comments