Dear Girls by Ali Wong
Written by Ashley Kelmore, Posted in Reviews
Anyone who likes a good comedic memoir but also appreciates some sincerity.
In a nutshell:
Comedian Ali Wong shares stories from her life through the convention of letters to her two daughters. She also gives her husband the afterword to tell some of his perspective.
“You have suffered enough.” That became my mantra for motherhood from there on out. You have suffered enough. If you can make it easier, make it easier, and don’t feel guilty about it.”
Why I chose it:
Humorous memoirs are my favorite. Plus, I knew that over the holidays most of the podcasts I listen to on runs would be on break, so I needed something to listen to.
I’ve seen both of Ali Wong’s Netflix specials and watched Always Be My Maybe. The latter had me in near tears at times, the former two are funny for sure but a bit bluer than I like. It’s not that I think she shouldn’t be so vulgar or anything — it’s just not favorite type of humor. And while there is definitely a fair bit of that vulgarity in this book, I enjoyed it all quite a lot.
The convention Wong uses has each chapter take the form of a new letter to her daughters, who are still very young. Every once in awhile I’d get a feeling like when I’d think too hard about an episode of How I Met Your Mother: you really want to tell your kids THAT? Huh. Okay. But the convention relies on her daughters not reading the book until their 21, and frankly it’s kind of cool to think about kids who will know a lot about their mother’s life. How many of us have the kind of relationship with our parents where they tell stories of their wild times in college? If so, good for you, but that’s not really my experience of the world.
No single chapter / letter stands out to me as a must re-read; I think it was an even book with hilarious and sweet parts spread equally throughout. If funny memoirs are your thing, this is probably already on your radar; if not, I think you still might enjoy it. And definitely get the audio version – it’s great to hear Wong (and, at the end, her husband) read their own words.
Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep it (but if it were in paperback and not audio form I’d definitely pass it to a friend)