Friday, November 22, 2019

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Dear Girls by Ali Wong
I love Ali Wong's Netflix special Baby Cobra. It's hilarious. This book is no Baby Cobra. It's not bad, but temper your expectations.

Also, if you're shocked by strong language or frank talk about sex, please don't read this and give it a dismal review somewhere solely for those reasons. You should know that's part of the deal with Wong going in.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life is very funny at times and I love Wong's insight into life as a female comic, though that's only a small slice of the book (I listened to audio). As it's a letter to her daughters, most of it is also about her husband, childbirth, raising young children, dating, and her experiences as an Asian American woman. She shares some interesting stories from her life, and some not so captivating.

Some of those stories are embarrassing or deeply personal, and I give her credit for willingness to go there. But being embarrassing or personal in itself isn't enough to make a segment funny or interesting, you need to mix a good joke or story in there, too. Which she often does, but she also misses the mark at times.

The level of funny seems to diminish as the book goes on. At times it drags. Sometimes the jokes don't land, or get stuck too long on a given point she's making. Jokey sentence one on that point was OK. Jokey sentence two was fine. Sentences three, four and five on a topic that didn't have much juice? That got tedious. And the final chapter by her husband was dead dull. It provided a markedly humorless ending – not the note you'd want to end on in a book by a comedian.

Overall, I liked the book, but didn't love it. Often with books by funny people, I'll spring for the audiobook and the ebook, but this time I'm drawing the line with owning just audio.

I'm giving it three stars out of five, which isn't a bad rating, imo. And based on her two Netflix specials and the charming and funny Always Be My Maybe, she'll still get my time (and probably my money) in the future.

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