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Alina Reads & Reviews: Dear Girls by Ali Wong

If you're looking for something particularly funny, easy to read, surprisingly emotional, and full of life lessons that don't feel like you're getting lectured at.

I picked this book up because I saw it on Instagram. On either Nicole Lopez's or Bibi Julian's , they were asking for book recommendations and like the psychopath I can be, I ordered all of them from the library.

I will admit that I hadn't seen any of Ali Wong's Netflix specials, but I did see Always Be My Maybe, which was a pretty good movie.

Halfway through the book though, I did stop to watch the specials to make the reading experience better. I was glad that I did because there were some things she elaborated more in the Netflix specials than in the book and vice-versa. She's way more vulgar in her stand-up than she is in the book, so be mentally prepared that there's a lot of vagina talk!

Dear Girls is a series of lessons that are dedicated to her daughters, Mari and Nikki, who are too young yet to appreciate anything other than their toys at the moment. My favorite part about the whole book is that it was resoundingly honest. At the very beginning, she says something that I always say

"I'm a fucking idiot"

It really does read like the kind of book you and your friends joke about that you'll put together if you combine all of your stories together.

My two favorite parts of the whole book were 1) when she explains her trip to Vietnam and 2) explains her family dynamic now that she has received more fame.

As a half-Chinese and half-Vietnamese first-generation kid, Wong explains what each half means in terms of their traditions and customs. This felt very close to home in terms of having to explain to white people that, for example, not everyone is a Mexican. She goes on to talk about her trip to Vietnam and what that meant for her as a daughter of a Vietnamese woman and understanding the stark contrast in her upbringing. This was 100% the most honest and relatable part of her whole book. While I will never know what it's like to grow up in communist Cuba, I can listen and understand how lucky I am to have been born here in the States.

Her family dynamic explanation came from a place of gratitude and practicality. Although her husband is a Harvard alum, she is the "breadwinner". He helps her sell posters after the show and take care of their daughters. To read about their relationship, struggles, and being able to come up with decisions together was mesmerizing. I'm sure they had more struggles than what was on the pages, but it didn't feel like she was hiding any of their challenges. She talks about the miscarriage and what it means for her husband to take on stereotypical "motherly" duties.

It's all gold.

Forever an Ali Wong fan after this. And her Instagram is just as cooky. I love it.

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