Here are my latest book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:
Memoirs, NWAW’s March must-reads
“Suck It, Wonder Woman! The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek”
By Olivia Munn, with Mac Montandon
St. Martin’s Press, 2010
In this collection of essays, actress and TV personality Olivia Munn offers stories from her life, growing up half Chinese and half white. She also shares stories from her life of trying to break into show business.
While “Wonder Woman” is a biography of sorts, it’s not your typical memoir. The stories are not arranged in chronological order.
From one chapter to the next, Munn recounts tales of how she landed her first “boyfriend” (at age 13), the time she was asked to house sit for her first agent, and how her love of pie led her to jump into a giant chocolate cream pie. And among these stories are lists and observations on topics such as the greatest moments in geek history and what to do when robots invade (yes, when).
Munn, who currently stars in NBC’s “Perfect Couples,” doesn’t hold back about her life experiences. She doesn’t name names, but her encounters with some of Hollywood’s finest will have you laughing — and cringing. There is no business like show business. On the other hand, she also shares some very personal stories. One in particular is about her grandmother’s death, which will have you reaching for a tissue.
What I liked about this book is the variety of stories Munn included. Unlike other stories — fiction and nonfiction — in which the protagonist is a minority, Munn doesn’t dwell or focus on her background. She doesn’t use her race to define herself or her story. However, she does not ignore it, either. In one chapter, she revisits kindergarten life with her blonde, light-eyed stepsister and how the kids in their class treated the two of them so differently. In her 10-point presidential campaign platform, Munn states that she will require every American citizen to take an Asian-Recognition Course, which should drastically reduce the number of people who think she’s Japanese.
My favorite thing about “Wonder Woman” is how grounded Munn remains through everything. On multiple occasions, she brings up the love she has for her fans and how she would never be where she is now without them. She is also unapologetic about her geeky tendencies and actually embraces them, which I think is something we all need to do.
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