Review | How to American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents by Jimmy O. Yang

“I take pride in playing immigrant characters. I’ve come across people who had a negative opinion about playing Asian characters that have an accent. I’ve even met Asian actors who won’t audition for a role that has an Asian accent. They believe these accented characters reinforce the stereotype of an Asian being the constant foreigner. Frankly, I can’t relate. I was an immigrant. And no matter how Americanized I become, no matter how much Jay-Z I listen to, I’ll always be an immigrant. Just because I don’t speak English with an accent anymore doesn’t mean that I’m better than the people who do. My job as an actor is not to judge anyone and to portray a character with humanity. There are real people with real Asian accents in the real world. I used to be one of them. And I’m damn proud of it.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: music production, acting gigs, stand up comedy, college days, new friends, a new language and new opportunities.

Standup comic, actor and fan favorite from HBO’s Silicon Valley and the film Crazy Rich Asians shares his memoir of growing up as a Chinese immigrant in California and making it in Hollywood.

“I turned down a job in finance to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. My dad thought I was crazy. But I figured it was better to disappoint my parents for a few years than to disappoint myself for the rest of my life. I had to disappoint them in order to pursue what I loved. That was the only way to have my Chinese turnip cake and eat an American apple pie too.”

Jimmy O. Yang is a standup comedian, film and TV actor and fan favorite as the character Jian Yang from the popular HBO series Silicon Valley. In How to American, he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant who pursued a Hollywood career against the wishes of his parents: Yang arrived in Los Angeles from Hong Kong at age 13, learned English by watching BET RapCity for three hours a day, and worked as a strip club DJ while pursuing his comedy career. He chronicles a near deportation episode during a college trip Tijuana to finally becoming a proud US citizen ten years later. Featuring those and many other hilarious stories, while sharing some hard-earned lessons, How to American mocks stereotypes while offering tongue in cheek advice on pursuing the American dreams of fame, fortune, and strippers.

This was surprisingly nice! I went into this book blindly since I haven’t watched “Silicon Valley” and I wasn’t familiar with Jimmy O. Yang and his work as a comedian/actor, so I went into this book without knowing anything about the author. And now I’m glad to say I’ve become a fan!

Jimmy is a very funny and positive guy, and it shows throughout the book. I listened to this as an audiobook and he was the one narrating it, and I just laughed the entire time! I promise, you will have a great time reading this.

What I liked so much about this book was how he shared his struggles as an immigrant from China to the USA. It was not easy for him to fit in and constantly being mocked for his accent and not understanding English, and yet, he was able to overcome his struggles and became very successful as an actor and comedian.

And I really liked the ending of the book! It was the cherry on top.

I was very inspired not only by his story but also for his positive attitude towards life. It’s an inspiring and funny book that I will always recommend to others!

I want to watch Silicon Valley now.

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