Constance Wu reflects on her mistakes in her memoir ‘Making a Scene’

When you think about Constance Wu “making a scene” That “true self-awareness requires context,” the 40-year-old actress essentially puts forward her illuminating new memoir thesis. A talented artist haunted by the singer’s reputation, Wu isn’t afraid to portray herself as capricious, cruel or conceited in captivating essays that range from sad memories to uncomfortable confessions.

“It sounds annoying and attention-seeking,” she writes of the phony argument she had with her old boyfriend at a crowded restaurant. “Oh! I was. Wu recalls how the teen treated her younger sister, admitting that she was “mean and controlling.” Wu described a disingenuous grudge she held against Randall Park, her co-star on “Fresh Off the Boat,” saying, “Looking back, I’m bothered by my behavior.” childish.”

But “making a scene” isn’t so much a simple guilt as it is reflecting on those mistakes (although there is a chapter titled “Apology”). This willingness not only to address her mistakes but to deal with them makes Wu’s memoirs even richer. Take advantage of her talent for setting a lifelike scene, as well as understanding that reflections are nothing without meditation, and “Crazy Rich Asians” star offers a page converter that reaches for much more than headline-grabbing discoveries.

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When Wu opens up about her trauma, she finds a purpose in bringing the novel back. Her disturbing memories of being raped at the age of 22 by a 14-year-old man become a scrupulous interrogation of the words “wonderful girl” and “good guy.” Wu is accused of being sexually harassed by the producer of “Fresh Off the Boat,” identified only by the initial “M,” which is An instinct to let this behavior slide until the show was booming generates a conversation about Hollywood’s toxic power dynamics. Wu wrote, “It’s unfortunate that success was a prerequisite for the basic human respect for the actress – but that was the reality I learned when I got on the TV show.” “It was worrisome and confusing.”

As Wu pointed out in a July statement on social mediaThe book also documents her suicide attempt in 2019 amid the online backlash to tweets she sent to renew her song “Fresh Off the Boat’s.” After being smashed by a friend from the edge of her New York apartment balcony, Wu makes it clear that she never wanted to commit suicide, but still finds herself mired in despair. When she was taken to the hospital, she told two admissions counselors what had happened: “I almost jumped. I’m so impulsive. (The balcony edge is no place to rush.) I needed help.”

While “making a scene” is light on laughs – and some attempts at humor – the overall experience isn’t as horrific as these chapters might suggest. Instead, much of Wu’s story is driven by poignant memories of her diverse feelings and loves. Her lustful affair with Rob, the connoisseur at the upscale New York restaurant where she was a waitress, paints a hyper-connected picture of a fiery romance slowly losing steam. Wu’s years-long dynamic with one friend makes it a heart-wrenching tale of unrequited romance. The twists and turns of a friend’s relationship with old-fashioned perks wouldn’t be out of place in rom-com.

Oddly enough, Wu’s vent calling her current partner — musician Ryan Katner, whom she welcomed her daughter in 2020 — never arrived, with Kattner only mentioned in passing. looks wu At first she reciprocates when it comes to her estranged parents. But she retains this devastating tale for the last chapter, detailing their turbulent marriage and ugly divorce, all while revisiting the context of parenting within her decision to become a mother.

Wu displays a knack for digging for meaning from light essays, for example, about her teenage job at a strange bakery, or her own affection for rabbits. She also writes of her formative forays into community theater with endearing enthusiasm, and Virginians will enjoy the myriad references to her Richmond upbringing—cries to Kings Dominion and Monument Avenue and the enduring generosity of the community among them. Wu offers thoughtful observations about the pressures and prejudices when navigating Hollywood as an Asian American woman, particularly when it comes to confronting cultural criticism of “new off the boat.”

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At one point, when describing a confession to a high school friend, Wu wrote, “What a relief to share something bad about me and still be loved!” Readers will decide if that’s the case with Making a Scene, but if nothing else, she’s commendable for exposing herself to scrutiny. In a smart device, Wu writes some particularly candid exchanges as a scene from a screenplay. It’s a welcome break in structure for an actress who, by skipping frivolous anecdotes and penchant for messy confessions, is putting her own spin on the Hollywood memoir script.

Thomas Floyd is an editor and writer for the Washington Post.

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