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400 pages, Kindle Edition
First published November 10, 2020
I hated myself in this house. I hated what my priorities became, what I worried about, the things I said and, more so, didn’t say.
“Sometimes I’m ashamed at how I’ve clung to them with bloody, torn-apart hands, trying to make it work even after they show me again and again it’s not worth it. But I’m somehow also ashamed of choosing myself now.”
I’d never known what “family” meant, because that word didn’t represent the same thing to me as it seemed to for others, but in that moment I finally understood that inexplicable underlying bond. That desire to move forward out of love, even when it wasn’t perfect.
“Most of the Asians I know came from nothing, like my family, so we had to band together, especially since no one else helped us.” “You’d think that’d be the way to go,” Chloe said, “but my experience has always been that there’s only room for one Asian, so you have to step on the other one to get a leg up. I guess they’re both survival tactics, though I wish my experience had been like yours. No wonder you’re more at peace with your Chinese side than I am—you know, sprinkling Mandarin on everything like it’s sriracha.”
“[...] I’m my own knight in shining armor” — Chloe
Were we all pretending, putting on a better face to fool everyone around us, even our family? [...] Did anyone else go by two names and feel like that separated who they were? — Chloe
“If you don’t eat enough, you get in trouble, and two seconds later they turn around and tell you you’re too fat, right? You just can’t win! With . . . anything.” — Drew
“For me, your poor mǎmá who is constantly worrying about you so much her blood pressure is high. Don’t send me to the grave early!” — Chloe��s mother
“We’re older. We have life experiences. Haven’t we taught you to respect your elders?” — Chloe’s father
The alarms in my head went off like there was a fire and tornado and flood around the corner. (498)
I had never felt so utterly, completely alone. (277)
Game. On. All I had to do was convince my parents that he was the love of my life and theirs. Piece of (moon)cake, right?