Join us for a reading, signing, and conversation between debut novelist Yi Shun Lai and WBEZ's Alexandra Salomon. The two writers will be discussing Lai's new novel, Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu
Marty Wu, compulsive reader of advice manuals, would love to come across as a poised young advertising professional. Instead she trips over her own feet and blurts out inappropriate comments. The bulk of her brain matter, she decides, consists of gerbils "spinning madly in alternating directions."Marty hopes to someday open a boutique costume shop, but it's hard to keep focused on her dream. First comes a spectacular career meltdown that sends her ricocheting between the stress of New York and the warmth of supportive relatives in Taiwan. Then she faces one domestic drama after another, with a formidable mother who's impossible to please, an annoyingly successful and well- adjusted brother, and surprising family secrets that pop up just when she doesn't want to deal with them. Mining the comedic potential of the 1.5-generation American experience, Not a Self-Help Book is an insightful and witty portrait of a young woman scrambling to balance familial expectations and her own creative dreams.
Born in Taiwan and raised in the United States, debut novelist Yi Shun Lai has written everything from copy for lingerie catalogs to articles about the great outdoors. She lives in Southern California with her husband and dog.
Alexandra Salomon is a producer and fill in host for the daily global affairs program Worldview on WBEZ. Prior to joining Chicago Public Media, she spent nearly a decade reporting overseas. She was a producer for ABC News, based in Rome, Italy. In Europe she also reported for a number of other news outlets including The Boston Globe, the BBC, the CBC and the Jerusalem Post. In 2006 she received a Knight International Press Fellowship, which took her across central and northern Nigeria and Moldova.
"A breezy and charming tale ... Anyone who's grown up immersed in a profoundly rich old-world culture and feels its constant pull will commiserate—and be entertained."—Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family
"Marty is a wonderful character who learns to stand up for herself and discovers what she really wants in life."—Booklist