[REVIEW] Making A Scene, by Constance Wu

The bright red book cover of Making A Scene by Constance Wu, who is depicted in black silhouette. The background is the interior of a non-descript, grimy subway car during a morning commute. A Black woman(Mel's) hand holds the book.

(Pre-order this book!)

I’m not really into celebrity culture and I’m not sure I would have read this if Scribner Books hadn’t kindly sent me an ARC. But I’m SO glad they did.

What I thought about Constance Wu before reading this: Um…she was good in Crazy Rich Asians I guess. She was the mom on Fresh Off the Boat, too, right? She was funny in that.

What I thought about Constance Wu after reading this: OMG she seems like such cool people. I wish her all the success in the world even though she seems too sincere and honest and self-aware for Hollywood. I’m glad she’s made it, and I hope her star keeps rising because she has a gift, and a story, and also I’d just love to get coffee with this lady and swap big city dating horror stories with her for a while.

Part of the love I have for this book comes from the fact that Wu is…just a person. She’s a normal, likable person who puts a lot of effort into understanding her own emotions and explaining them honestly even when they’re not flattering. She’s a person with a job that other people think is really cool, but still has to grapple with family, romance, work, money, and even herself. There’s something beautifully sincere in how everything in her life seems to be on the same level, no matter how glamorous or banal. She talks hating a girl in middle school right next to an explanation of troubles on the Fresh Off The Boat set. right next to an ode to her pet bunny, right next to a remarkably technical analysis of her first community theatre audition.

Wu isn’t always loveable in this book, but she’s eminently likable. She reminds me of people I know, people who are entirely products and makers of America even though that’s not how we’re always perceived. We’ve all been conditioned to expect certain stories from women, from the children of immigrants, from Asian people, from artists. Wu tells none of those stories because they aren’t hers. Instead, she tells her stories. She talks about growing up Taiwanese-American in the South with laid-back, supportive parents. She talks about navigating the minefields of New York romance and the hard work of auditions. She talks about the harder work of staying whole and present when you start to make money from your passions but to be clear, Wu is not her career and this book is not about that. There’s industry tea here, but not what you’d expect. There’s talk of race and racism, but again, it’s not what you’d expect. There’s talk of abuse and harassment and it’s also not what you’d expect but it IS really real. So real, in fact, that it reminded me that someday, I’ll have to tell a story about a podcast, but it will be okay when I do.

Five stars and big feelings to Making A Scene, out in October 2022.

(First of all, beautiful people, my thanks to Scribner Books for sending an ARC of this very good book that you should totally pre-order and cherish once it’s released in October. I get a lot of ARCs. I don’t publicly review them all because some of them are…not good. This one is good! Check it out, and also check out some of the other books I’ve highlighted in the Equal Opportunity Bookshop. If you buy anything from that link, we do earn a commission, which is used to buy more books. We look forward to your enabling of our very benign word addiction. Peace! )

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