Review | The joys and challenges of family in four new memoirs

Connie Wang’s “O my mother!“Pure joy. A memoir about his mother, King told “In Nine Adventures,” the book displays dark humor to good effect. Wang grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and attended Mandarin Saturday school. He remembers worrying about the “Larry King hairline” he inherited from his Chinese father. I include a twelve-year-old boy who built an entire laptop computer out of salvaged parts that he brought to class with him to look at. Porn during vocabulary lessons.

Wang’s quirkiness comes from her mother, who likes to eat “Magic Mike XXL” and ice cream cones for breakfast, she says. “Oh my mother!” I (an exclamation that is the closest Chinese translation we have to “Oh my God!”), Wang takes us on family trips to timeshares, China, Las Vegas, Disney World and finally Versailles, where he is on Chinese buses. Run. Tourists “The effect was quite strange, like seeing a birthday cake in the middle of a forest,” Wang writes. “It wasn’t until 2005 that the Chinese Communist Party deregulated their travel restrictions.” First, the King’s Guard is captured. Then, she says, “I’m so proud.”

At age 58, after years of not getting a good night’s sleep, King smokes weed in Amsterdam and gets the best rest of his life. “Thanks Connie I love it!” Along with funny anecdotes about the Qing, there are Wang’s sharp cultural observations. On the terrifying experience of luxury retail: “There’s nothing like it,” nothing that “evokes the same intense feelings of inadequacy, joy, shame and desire—except maybe gambling.”

The memoir ends when many recent events begin, with the start of the pandemic, and then the birth of Wang’s son, Mark. Wang never intended it to be anything other than Chung’s story and its impact on his life. “This is our memory,” Wang writes. “And it was forged through joint fact-checking. … She is the first editor of this book. Every word you read here first passed under her red pen,” the book’s mother said. Makes it unique and charming like a daughter pair. (Viking, $28)

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