Having watching “Crazy Rich Asians” and absolutely loving it, I was so intrigued by Constance Wu’s memoir. Making a Scene is tender and emotional. I loved Wu’s signature comedic slant to her memories, experiences, and narration style while maintaining the depth and complexity. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Growing up in the friendly suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, Constance Wu was often scolded for having big feelings or strong reactions. “Good girls don’t make scenes,” people warned her. And while she spent most of her childhood suppressing her bold, emotional nature, she found an early outlet in local community theater—it was the one place where big feelings were okay—were good, even. Acting became her refuge, her touchstone, and eventually her vocation. At eighteen she moved to New York, where she’d spend the next ten years of her life auditioning, waiting tables, and struggling to make rent before her two big breaks: the TV sitcom Fresh Off the Boat and the hit film Crazy Rich Asians.
Through raw and relatable essays, Constance shares private memories of childhood, young love and heartbreak, sexual assault and harassment, and how she “made it” in Hollywood. Her stories offer a behind-the-scenes look at being Asian American in the entertainment industry and the continuing evolution of her identity and influence in the public eye. Making a Scene is an intimate portrait of pressures and pleasures of existing in today’s world.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the Libro.fm. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I love when memoirs are read by the writer themselves. And in Making a Scene this is absolutely integral. Constance has a way of narration which is able to convey insecurity, comedy, and depth. There’s a balancing act of being relatable, touching upon themes like racism and sexism, while also having lives that most of us cannot touch. But Making a Scene straddles this line of feeling relatable, even if our experiences are not the same.
My favorite chapter of Making a Scene has to be about representation in Hollywood. I’m predictable right? But I think what I wasn’t expecting, was how much I’d relate to Constance’s struggles feeling like being too much. Being too emotional. While I’ve decided to go the opposite direction and harden up like a turtle, I appreciated hearing her perspective. How the world can try to force us to do what I did and the fear and bravery in remaining ourselves.
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Making a Scene feels raw as it tackles motherhood, careers, and racism. There were a few chapters that had me in tears like the plagiarism one particularly. If you’ve been interested in finding out more about Constance Wu this is a must read. But it’s also for anyone who’s felt like too much, has felt alone against a system of power, or have struggled to reconcile our mothers. Find Making a Scene on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org, The Book Depository, Libro.fm, and Google Play.