Fresh Off The Boat
Wow this book really resonated with me in a lot of ways. I also had a hard time relating in many ways. Even though Eddie Huang and I are both children of Taiwanese immigrants, we still have tons of differences.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey is vastly different from growing up in Orlando, Florida. Based on Eddie's descriptions, the Orlando community is pretty bad about minority issues. I'm not saying New Jersey is a walk in the park, but my childhood was definitely a lot less racially-charged than Eddie's.
The memoir goes heavily into the idea of identity. It's really easy to rely on heuristics to put people in little boxes. As an Asian-American male, I'm certainly aware of this.
I consider myself really lucky in that my parents never hit me. Sure, my dad was a very tough disciplinarian when I was a kid, but he never resorted to violence. I had the stereotypical piano recital and Chinese school upbringing, but my reaction to those things really shaped who I am today.
One criticism I have of Eddie's book is that he was pretty harsh on other other people a lot of times. Of course, complacency is the enemy of progress, but I don't think its fair to judge people on a surface level. Just let people do their thing and realize that it's impossible to fully comprehend what others think and how they behave. I'm definitely guilty of judging people too.
The book is very honest and highlights the good and bad about the author. I'm also a fan of Eddie's show on VICE, so I might be biased. It's a good book if you grew up Asian-American or want a glimpse into the life of one Asian-American. It's good reminder that race and culture are issues that all Americans have to deal with. Every person is juggling their personal stories and the stories they inherited from their families and cultures.
All in all, I really recommend this book. My thoughts can be summed up by my post-book tweet:
Just finished Eddie Huang's Memoir. So good. Highlights the importance of authenticity and cultural understanding. And not selling out— Andrew Lin (@lifmus) January 28, 2014