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


The Woo Woo 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.

Selected praise:

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

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