Years before she published Dear Girls, Ali Wong aired a stand-up special on Netflix called Baby Cobra. She was pregnant with her first during filming, and I was just barely coming out of the fog of having two babies within about a year of each other. I couldn’t have been more primed to find everything she referenced all too familiar and laugh-out-loud hilarious. And I don’t take issue with her raw and crude brand of humor. Parenting is raw and crude, so it fits. Needless-to-say, when I heard about Dear Girls I was all in.
Each chapter is a letter to her daughters Mari and Nikki where she shares different embarrassing, challenging, rewarding, gross, triumphant stories. I love that she is completely unfiltered in sharing the lessons she’s learned the hard way, and trying to share more of herself. Parents often project onto children so much of what we hope for them and how we see them, but we rarely share much of our own histories, vulnerabilities or mistakes. But Wong is completely unafraid of laying it all out there, and that’s something to respect.
Wong is confident, self-deprecating and unapologetically herself with every word. Reading her story was a refreshing take on life, adulting, loving, parenting and working as a woman in America. Specifically as a woman of color and the child of immigrants. Sure, a lot of her chapters are about parenting and relationships. It is a book written to her daughters after all. And there are some chapters that are SO CLOSE to home. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so seen as I did in reading Chapter 10 “Bringing up Bebes.” But there’s so much else to be gained from Dear Girls. Her experiences with gender roles, work-life balance, sexism, sexuality, family dynamics, financial stability, and so much else are well worth reading. Especially when she tells it all with such a unique and savage brand of humor.
The moral of the story? . . .
It was a solid 3 out of 5 stars for me. Translation? It was solidly a good read. I liked it, but maybe didn’t love it (4 stars would mean I loved it, and 5 stars means it’s an all-time favorite). I don’t give our stars lightly. But I really enjoyed Dear Girls. Although, if you have any reservations about Wong’s humor I definitely recommend watching her specials first so you know what you’re in for. It’s not for the faint of heart. Though if you’re game, this book is a great extension of her humor and storytelling. It’s entertaining, and a great distraction from a global pandemic! Not-to-mention the very last chapter that nearly had me in tears; a beautiful letter by Wong’s husband written to their daughters in admiration of his family, their mother, and them. He’s one badass feminist.
Well, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading! And I hope you’ll read along with us in May/June 🙂