The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family by Lindsay Wong
Shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust of Canada Prize for Nonfiction
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, 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.
What if the ghosts and demons of myth were in fact a structure that prevented open conversations about self care and mental health? Lindsay Wong's The Woo-Woo is a brave, funny, and heartbreaking memoir that takes on the mysticism so regularly sold to us as part of the Asian and Asian American experience and presents a side we don't often see: that of a young woman struggling to survive her family's adherence to a belief system she knows will doom her and them both. -Alexander Chee, author of How To Write an Autobiographical Novel
Wong's debut harrowingly portrays a family who 'believed that mental illness, or any psychological disturbance, was caused by demonic possession' ... A raw, profane, and funny memoir. --Kirkus Reviews
Darkly funny, steeped in the macabre and grotesque, The Woo-Woo is at once an unflinching portrait of a borderline abusive childhood and a testament to the power that family has to shape us for good or ill ... Rich with gritty, hard-earned insight, The Woo-Woo illuminates the shaky reality of living across two cultures and offers a difficult, tenuous bridge between these worlds. --Quill and Quire