The Woo-woo

The Woo-woo

How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, And My Crazy Chinese Family

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
11
"Lindsay Wong grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and a mother who was deeply afraid of the 'woo-woo' -- Chinese ghosts who come to visit in times of personal turmoil. From a young age, she witnessed the woo-woo's sinister effects; at the age of six, she found herself living in the food court of her suburban mall, which her mother saw as a safe haven because they could hide there from dead people, and on a camping trip, her mother tried to light Lindsay's foot on fire to rid her of the woo-woo. The eccentricities take a dark turn, however, when her aunt, suffering from a psychotic breakdown, holds the city of Vancouver hostage for eight hours when she threatens to jump off a bridge. And when Lindsay herself starts to experience symptoms of the woo-woo herself, she wonders whether she will suffer the same fate as her family. On one hand a witty and touching memoir about the Asian immigrant experience, and on the other a harrowing and honest depiction of the vagaries of mental illness, The Woo-Woo is a gut-wrenching and beguiling manual for surviving family, and oneself."--
Publisher: Vancouver :, Arsenal Pulp Press,, [2018]
ISBN: 9781551527369
Characteristics: 315 pages ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Canada Reads 2019
MsHillary Feb 09, 2019

A deeply powerful memoir that explores mental health and the Chinese-Canadian culture in Vancouver.


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
h
Hadley
Dec 15, 2019

There's an old saw in Canadian publishing that you can sell any book that has "hockey" in the title. There can't be any other reason why someone would publish this book, other than its few pages on sadistic minor league hockey.

As others have noted, this is a 300-page book that seems too long by half. It's repetitious, sure, but the reason it's too long is that it needed a ruthless editor.

Like her parents, who buy their groceries by the skid at Costco, Wong seems to have purchased her adjectives and adverbs in bulk, and she's determined to use every one. No page is without a metaphor, many of them inappropriate and weird. And so we get sentences like this: "Things were not skewed--nothing was tenuously out of place. I had not broken our disaffected disenchantment, had not really blasted away the webby illusion fogging up our frontal lobes with my AK-47 flash of wordy and excruciating shrapnel--maybe just dented our steel supervillain shields for a minute--kapow!" What? Or "But her words detonated some kind of inferno inside me that had been gurgling non-stop." Gurgling inferno? There's page after page of this nonsense, apparently written by some software program. A third of the way in, I was grinding my teeth.

The bulk of The Woo-Woo could be summarized in a sentence: "My family is superstitious and mean, some of them suffer from mental illnesses, and they messed me up." But by the end of the book, I didn't much care.

t
theflinks
Oct 13, 2019

This was an interesting read. It was sometimes difficult to absorb, but I had to keep going. I needed to find out how she got to the beginning, in the end.
The interesting names for the family members were a Dickensian throwback, and the rationalizations of Lindsay as a child and of her family members because of their culture and upbringing are both fascinating and scary.
I couldn't put it down, and I was left rooting for her and her family despite all their quirks and flaws.

t
theflinks
Oct 13, 2019

This was an interesting read. It was sometimes difficult to absorb, but I had to keep going. I needed to find out how she got to the beginning, in the end.
The interesting names for the family members were a Dickensian throwback, and the rationalizations of Lindsay as a child and of her family members because of their culture and upbringing are both fascinating and scary.
I couldn't put it down, and I was left rooting for her and her family despite all their quirks and flaws.

j
Joycechidiadi
Aug 21, 2019

The author expressed how her immigrant Chinese family viewed mental health with ghost lenses.
A little bit difficult for me to finish.
I preferred the other Canada reads 2019 stories "Brother, Homes and..."

JessicaGma Jul 30, 2019

It's dark and almost unrealistic, and yet....It's a gritty memoir from Vancouver and I can totally see why it made Canada Reads 2019. It is darkly funny, but also quite sad. Definitely worth picking up.

p
pmustard
Jun 10, 2019

would have been an interesting short story or magazine article; but fails as a full length book.
It is just endlessly repetitive and rather tiring to get through. Once you understand the total dysfunction and mental illness problems of this extended family, the author seems to need to beat the reader to death with repeated examples, then more examples, and then more ... right to the end, when nothing much happens. It just seems to end when the author must have finally realized that just adding more examples of the same crazy behaviour really was beyond tedious.

k
Karmilliam
Apr 23, 2019

Finished it & wondered why. Little in the way of humour or insight. Surely "Canada Reads" could do better.

r
ritarufus
Apr 21, 2019

It was ok. Got repetitious. if I'd had another book to read I might have quit. Canada Reads 2019

BPLpicks Mar 13, 2019

Another contender for the 2019 Canada Reads event. The author comes from a Chinese immigrant family and uses dark humour in her creative approach to discussing the mental health issues in her family.

nwhite1 Jan 11, 2019

The theme of Canada Reads for 2019 is One Book To Move You. When the longlist was announced I was thrilled to see The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong on it. This darkly funny memoir about family, culture and mental health moved me and is worthy of a wider discussion. If The Woo-Woo makes it into the top 5 contenders, Elaine Lui (a.k.a Lainey Gossip) would be the perfect champion for the debates.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at WPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top