Fresh Off the Boat, by Eddie Huang

15792558

Three and a half stars, read in September 2016.

I don’t speak hip-hop, so a significant portion of this book was entirely incomprehensible to me. That sounds like a joke, but “colloquial” doesn’t even begin to cover the vocabulary, and that’s before I take all the sports jargon into account. I could at least get the gist most of the time, but I have to admit, there were at least a couple times I was just stumped.

I had no idea who Eddie Huang was before I picked up this book, but I’ve been wanting to watch the TV show for a long time, so I was pretty excited about this memoir by extension. I find him fascinating and more than a little confusing, which I think would probably make him happy. It was awesome reading about his education, how he studied literature and philosophy and black history and women’s studies, how it all opened his mind and taught him that you can’t dismantle the master’s house using the master’s tools. It was less awesome reading the casual misogyny that just occasionally popped up and wondering if it’s supposed to be part of his anti-model-minority approach to life, which would be one thing, although I probably still wouldn’t appreciate it, or if he just somehow doesn’t notice that it is misogynistic, despite all his awareness on other issues. His perspective on race in America is the real point of the book, and was my favorite part.

I really liked the book, haphazard as it sometimes felt. I liked how casual and intimate it is, and how honest. I still can’t wait to watch the TV show, and I’ll probably read his newest book, too. It’s too bad New York City is so far away and inaccessible, because I’d love to hang out at Baohaus.

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