Summer memoirs include books by Kwame Alexander and Connie Wang

Connie Wang’s “Oh My Mother!” is pure pleasure. A memoir about her mom, Qing, advised “in nine adventures,” the guide reveals darkish humor to good impact. Wang grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and remembers fretting in Mandarin faculty on Saturdays concerning the “Larry King hairline” she inherited from her Chinese father. “I was definitely not as weird as them, these child geniuses far more brilliant and demented than myself, including a twelve-year-old boy who constructed an entire laptop computer from salvaged parts that he then brought with him to class in order to watch porn during vocabulary lessons.”

Wang’s weirdness, she says, comes from her mom, who loves “Magic Mike XXL” and consuming ice cream cones for breakfast. In “Oh My Mother!” (an exclamation that’s the closest Chinese translation we’ve to “Oh my God!”), Wang takes us alongside on household journeys to time-shares, China, Las Vegas, Disney World and lastly Versailles, the place they run into busloads of Chinese vacationers. “The effect was totally bizarre, like seeing a birthday cake in the middle of the forest,” Wang writes. “It wasn’t until 2005 that the Chinese Communist Party deregulated their travel restrictions.” At first, Qing is caught off guard. Then, she says, “I am so proud.”

At 58, after years of not with the ability to get an excellent night time’s sleep, Qing smokes weed in Amsterdam and will get the very best remainder of her life. “Thanks Connie I love this!” Alongside the humorous tales about Qing are Wang’s sharp cultural observations. On the terrifying expertise of luxurious retail: “There is nothing similar,” nothing that “engenders the same intense feelings of inadequacy, elation, shame, and desire — except perhaps for gambling.”

This memoir ends when many current ones start, with the beginning of the pandemic, and then the start of Wang’s son, Marc. Wang by no means supposed this to be something however the story of Qing and her affect on her life. “This is our memoir,” Wang writes. “And it was forged through shared fact-checking. … She is this book’s first editor. Every word you read here has first passed under her red pen,” making the guide as distinctive and charming as its mother-daughter pair. (Viking, $28)

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