Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life

by Ali Wong

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero) cover everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.

“Fierce, feminist, and packed with funny anecdotes.”—Entertainment Weekly

NAMED ONE OF FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS BY Time Vox USA Today HuffPost Bustle Vogue PopSugar BookRiot Shondaland

In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so strongly that she even became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads.

The sharp insights and humor are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she’s learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life off stage, including the brutal single life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong’s letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and gross) for all.

Praise for Dear Girls

“[Wong] spins a volume whose pages simultaneously shock and satisfy. . . . Dear Girls is not so much a real-talk handbook as it is a myth-puncturing manifesto.”—Vogue
 
“[A] refreshing, hilarious, and honest account of making a career in a male-dominated field, dating, being a mom, growing up, and so much more…Yes, this book is addressed to Wong’s daughters, but every reader will find nuggets of wisdom and inspiration and, most important, something to laugh at.”Bustle

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525508847
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 6,935
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Ali Wong is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actress.  She has released two hit Netflix comedy specials—Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife—and will star in the Netflix original film Always Be My Maybe.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

How I Trapped Your Father

Dear Girls,

Your dad is the (if we are divorced by the time you read this, please skip to the next sentence) best, but I didn’t just find him overnight. In the fall of 2009, I had been living in NYC for a year and had been unlucky when it came to love and casual sex.

Well, let’s just get right to it: I dated a series of men who had issues getting it up. It felt like a curse. Five guys in a row lost their boners in the middle of getting busy. Part of me blamed the Raynaud’s disease, a condition that was passed on to me by my father. I have extremely poor circulation to my hands and feet, to the point where in the cold, they will turn blue and feel like pain icicles. So, especially in the New York fall or wintertime, my bare hands, much like the hands of Rogue from the X-Men, could suck the life out of a man’s erect penis.

After the first two guys that I hooked up with in NYC went soft on me, I grew extremely self-conscious of my White Walker fingers. By the third time I started making out with a new guy, I made sure to simultaneously warm my hands up by furiously rubbing them together and breathing into them like a homeless character in a theater production, next to a papier mâché trash-can fire.

I felt very good about this new method and used it on a man that I met through comedy friends at a bar. He lived in Coney Island. At the time, I was staying in SoHo, so he might as well have lived in Pyongyang. It took an hour and a half to get to his place by train, but it felt like three because we were both so horny.

He was extremely stupid. I know I’ve confessed that I’m no genius, but this guy had a lower back tattoo of Chinese characters, didn’t know who Abraham Lincoln was (this is for real), and couldn’t stop talking about how The Crow was the greatest movie ever made (it’s good, however Clueless is a masterpiece). But I hadn’t gotten successfully laid in so long and was very eager to flex my new technique, so I made my way to Trash Island.

I’d thought the whole point of living far away in an outer borough was to afford yourself a nicer apartment with more space. This dude did have a queen-sized, four-poster bed, but . . . ​not in a good way. It was old and dusty and made me feel less like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and more like that weird sick kid in The Secret Garden who sleeps in a tunic and is allergic to the sun. He passionately threw me onto the bed, but a sudden, deafening bed creak rendered the mood DOA. I would’ve believed him if he’d told me that a hundred people over the past two centuries had spent their final days dying of scurvy in this rickety, termite-infested bed. His place was a shithole. But traveling to Coney Island is the New York subway ride equivalent of hiking Machu Picchu, and I’d reached the summit so I couldn’t back down now.

On the train, boat, and all the way up until I grabbed his penis, I had been consistently rubbing my hands together to keep the blood flowing. And he stayed hard. My method was sound! We were ready to move to the next level and I was finally going to pork a man I met at a bar like those bitches did in Sex and the City. But as soon as he made first contact with my vagina—which Raynaud’s does not affect—his boner melted into a wet Cheeto.

A total and oppressive silence filled the room. He didn’t even apologize, offer to eat me out, or make me a sandwich, which I felt was quite rude. I wanted to go home, but I was too poor to take a cab back and it was way too late and unsafe to take the train by myself all the way back to SoHo. So I slept in this stranger’s haunted Victorian bed for the rest of the night and left before I could learn his last name or get attacked by a ghost in a frilled puffy dress.

Sex and the City had promised me much more exciting casual sex in New York City. Before moving there, I was looking forward to spending the night in an art gallery curator’s loft. Maybe his name was Demetri and he would make me post-coital French press coffee and poached eggs before I had to catch a taxi, in the same Vivienne Westwood dress and Manolo Blahnik heels from the night before, to my very important advertising job. Maybe Demetri was GREAT at eating ass and I would learn later at brunch with my sassy girlfriends that Demetri had, in fact, a reputation for being great at eating ass. Maybe he was known amongst power New York women as “the mASSter.” Maybe eventually the relationship would peter out because he was too good at eating ass and my ass would get raw and I would get sick of this one-trick pony. I would try to do missionary with him and then he’d just turn me over, move his head down my butt, and then I’d think, All this f***ing dude does is eat ass. And from that experience I would create the perfect slogan for the new “Yelp for Single Men” campaign and my advertising agency would make me executive girl boss president person!

Except I never got to sleep with anyone who earned more than fifteen dollars per hour during that first year in NYC. I’d consider myself a princess if any of the men owned a bed frame (even if it was full of bedbugs in powdered wigs). They never took me out on a date and all of them had roommates. That’s what happens when you spontaneously go home with a fellow struggling stand-up comic or, even worse, an improviser. (Please always say “f*** no” to those “yes and” motherf***ers.) At the time, I didn’t require or need to be taken out to dinner. But after five consecutive pudding penises, I began to want to get to know a man a little more before taking a chance on his performance abilities. There was a lot on the line: I would have taken a sixth soft dick as a sign to give up my worldly possessions, shave my head, and make Buddha my husband.

What I really wanted was a boyfriend. The single life in New York was not just disappointing, it was lonely. Of course there’s a ton of cool stuff to do there, but I got sick of seeing the latest MoMA exhibit by myself, eating delicious thin crust pizza by myself, and watching a homeless man argue with pigeons by myself.

On my first birthday in New York, I did three five-minute, unpaid sets. One in Bushwick, one on the Upper West Side, and the last in the Lower East Side. I told nobody it was my birthday. I didn’t want people to feel bad for me, and I didn’t want to acknowledge, even to myself, that this was what I was actually doing on my birthday, because I would have cried. I had already spent two of my post-college years backpacking through Asia solo, so I felt like I’d earned my Cheryl Strayed self-reflection-journey points and was ready for meaningful, caring companionship. I also craved a steady sexual partner, who knew all of my spots and gained a dedicated arsenal of no-fail moves, like pouring Fun Dip into my pussy and then going to town with that little sugar spoon, or sticking a wet thumb up my ass when I announce that I’m gonna cum, which, in my experience, works wonders on men as well. It’s a bi-effective move that’s rock-solid. Is “bi-effective” a word? Please look it up and let me know, I refuse to google anything for these letters.

It was exhausting, trying to train all of these new men who couldn’t stay hard. And I got tired of masturbating in my NYC loft, quietly and sans vibrator so as to not disturb my sixty-seven-year-old Russian landlady-roommate. The low rent she charged allowed me to be one of the only struggling stand-ups who could afford to live in Manhattan, and I wasn’t about to f*** it up with some loud-ass vibrator just because I was too impatient to masturbate Amish-style.

In the fall of 2009, my old high school friend Abby Goldberg invited me to her wedding. At the time, I was twenty-seven years old and she was my very first friend to get married. Her grandfather co-ran a major felt company. Yes, that’s what we mean when we say white people are beginning from a different starting line than everyone else. No matter how hard you study or work, you cannot compete with someone when their grandparents manufactured motherf***ing felt, a material so iconic that even you two girls could recognize it by the age of one. Your Mickey Mouse ears wouldn’t exist without Abby’s family. It had never occurred to me that someone even could invent felt; I must have subconsciously decided that, like a pen or a paper clip, it just occurs naturally.

The two-hundred-fifty-plus-guest Jewish wedding at a Napa vineyard was the most lavish matrimony I had ever been to. Most of the weddings I have attended since have a three-hour time limit on the free alcohol. The bat signal goes out to the guests that the open bar is about to close, and people savagely race to the bar, like those shitty-ass buffalos who trampled all over Mufasa in The Lion King, to get their last glass of complimentary booze to hold them over for the rest of the evening. This wedding had an open bar starting before the ceremony, well after the dinner, and the cocktails had all sorts of delicious, fresh-squeezed peach juices and tasted like decorative pillows from Anthropologie. The guests consisted mostly of Jewish people. So right away, I took notice of the only other Asian person at the wedding: your father.

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Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
smweston 7 days ago
This book is full of Ali Wong's signature raunchy humor framed as letters of advice to her daughters. If you love her standup, you'll love the book. Topics include motherhood, family, her career, study abroad, and being Asian American. There's even an afterword from her husband, again written as a letter to their daughters. This entire book was worth it for "A Guide to Asian Restaurants" which is easily my favorite chapter. By the way, don't order the sushi at that restaurant in Malibu, but their signature dishes are amazing. This is one book that is going to be enhanced by the audiobook, read by Ali herself. Seriously, don't even bother with the print copy. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for honest review.
BarkingAboutBooks02 11 days ago
Ali Wong is hilarious and unapologeticly funny. Her standup is often referred to as “pee your pants funny” and her new book is the exact same. This book was a delightful read. If you’ve never heard of or seen Ali Wong, just know she is very explicit but that’s what makes this book (and her type of comedy) so freaking good. In this book, Ali writes letters to her two young daughters about some of things she has learned and what she hopes for them. Her love for her children is honest and genuine. She is honest about her struggles with finding the right person to marry and about motherhood. Her book isn’t braggy, it’s humble and I’m here for it. I loved that the ending was written by Ali’s husband. He is referenced throughout the book, it was really cool to see how his memories of events compared to Ali’s.
Nursebookie 13 days ago
I had always been a huge fan of Ali Wong, enjoying her Netflix Stand up specials, Baby Cobra while she was 8 months pregnant, and her recent Always Be My Maybe. In this book, each chapter is a letter dedicated to her girls Mari and Nikki, detailing her most intimate feelings and advice to her daughters regarding dating and sex life, going through the stand-up circuit through the comedy clubs and late night shows, as an Asian American woman in a male dominated industry. She talks about how she met her husband, how to order food in restaurants, and other advice to her daughters on how to live their best lives like traveling abroad and learning another language. This book was so funny to me and reads like a stand up show. her writing is real, raw, raunchy, and rambunctious Ali Wong Style. I loved that she says things I can only dare think about and completely relatable. I get her and I love that she is so real and the gritty honesty can make you squirm and uncomfortable and I love her for it. The afterword by her husband as the last chapter was so poignantly written and shows just how beautiful their love and utmost respect for each other in the pages he writes. It is a sweet review of what Ali Wong narrates in a more sterilized fashion and truly heartfelt to read for his children as a father and a husband. I thoroughly enjoyed this amazing book and highly recommend it for those not easily offended or too sensitive and know how to laugh about this adventure we call life. Thank you to Netgalley, Random House and the author for the ebook copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book and all opinions are my own.
sspea 15 days ago
You definitely see a different side of Ali Wong in this book. While always unapologetically herself, you see the grounded, mother and wife, who cherishes her heritage. She speak lovingly of her family, and the beautiful partnership she shares with her husband. Ali Wong's honesty about her life from childhood to motherhood was very refreshing. This was an empowering read. Proudly Asian, proudly a woman, Ali Wong's letters to her daughters read like an instruction manual for the future generation of strong women. A great read!
KimHeniadis 21 days ago
I’ve watched Ali Wong’s comedy specials, Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, and I love whenever she’s on American Housewife. In the third season of American Housewife, Wong has had even more screen time then just during second breakfast, and I was so happy. I laughed so hard during her comedy specials and often chuckle when she’s in American Housewife, so I was really disappointed that her book was not more funny to me. I think for me to enjoy her humor I need to see her performing it. Her facial expressions, her tone of voice, and how she gestures wildly towards her private parts really adds to the comedy. In the book she mentions numerous times how she would bend over and moon the audience. You just don’t get the same visuals reading a book as you do watching the performance. And the end chapter by her husband really left a bad taste in my mouth, which is a horrible last impression for a book. He goes on about how much he is doing for their children and sacrificing for Wong to be able to do her job. Even typing this, I’m shaking my head in annoyance. Now with all that negative feedback, if you like Ali Wong, I still think you should read the book. Maybe you’ll find it funnier than I did, and learning about her life and the struggles she had to go through to make it, was very interesting.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Dear Girls is an epistolary-style memoir of Ali Wong’s adventures/misadventures as a woman, Asian-American, stand-up comedian, wife, mother, etc. Each letter is addressed to her two daughters, and discusses the trials of motherhood, the value of travel and embracing other cultures, and the importance of not going into debt for a lavish wedding ceremony, among many other things. Dear Girls is funny, but there is a layer of depth, as well, not to mention a plethora of profanities and sexual humor (if you can't stomach either of those things, this book isn't for you). Dear Girls is quintessential Ali Wong—hilarious, crude, and sometimes profound. Anyone who is a fan will adore this book, and even those who aren’t probably will be by the end. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous 22 days ago
I am a fan of Ali Won's stand up and Always Be My Maybe. This memoir is filled with her signature raunchy humor posed as a letter to her daughters. It was interesting to learn about the beginnings of a successful comedian, and also first hand experience of what it means to be Asian American. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for this ARC!
3900980 22 days ago
Comedian Ali Wong has been a hilarious stand-up comedian, a writer for Fresh Off The Boat, as well as an actress. Now she can add writing a hysterical memoir to her list of accomplishments. Dear Girls is an incredibly funny, heartfelt, sometimes raunchy, love letter to her two daughters, both of whom make appearances in Wong's two Netflix specials (she is pregnant in each special), the first Baby Cobra (with daughter Mari) and Hard Knock Wife (with daughter Nikki). Each chapter starts out Dear Girls and then Wong proceeds to give her best advice such as not to go to knock-off Vietnamese restaurants, to how their dad once took her on a romantic date watching YouTube videos of Adele. She gives us a look at her college years of drinking in excess to falling in love (not with their dad). She takes us on an eating tour of Vietnam along with meeting some of her relatives as she tries to find out about her Vietnamese roots. She comically explains how she played the C-section card with her husband having to have a C-section after 24 hours of labor. According to Wong, she did not change a diaper the first month of her daughters life! She tries to explain to her girls how she slept with two homeless men (accidentally) but they turned out to be really good dates! We get to learn how she landed her husband Justin a Harvard Business School graduate and how they got married (at City Hall) and how she found her dress (on E bay)! Did I mention he was a Harvard Business School graduate? But as funny as the book is, it is as much a love letter to her dad whom she adored and who passed away and whom she misses terribly, and to her mother who has been an incredible help since the birth of her children and to all her relatives and friends. This book will make you laugh and cringe (at the same time)! It will make you root for Wong (and all women), and will teach you about cultures and where not to eat! The Afterward, written to their children by her husband is just an extra bonus to quite an enjoyable book!
Anonymous 23 days ago
I received a free E-ARC of this book from Netgalley. I've watched Ali Wong on 'American Housewife' lots of times and thought she was funny. I haven't watched any of her comedy specials, but I thought this book was very funny and touching at the same time. In this sorta-memoir/letter to her 2 daughters, she talks about growing up, meeting her husband, and being a stand-up comic. This book made me laugh out loud quite a few times.
rcahill 23 days ago
Have you ever not realized you were lacking something, but once that something appeared you had no doubt you needed it all along? Well, for me the answer is yes and that something is Dear Girls by Ali Wong. The comedian pens letters to her young daughters, but really, she is speaking to all women. Each letter covers a different aspect of life that her daughters will face as they grow, and these are issues that adult women are facing now. How can you balance family and career? What about marriage? What about raising children? What about facing doubt because of your gender or race? Wong is talking to all of us. Wong’s raunchy and graphic language will not be for everyone, but she is true to who she is as a woman and comedian. This book will have you nodding your heading and laughing until it hurts.
PattySmith87 26 days ago
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, and Ali Wong for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review of Dear Girls. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy. Stand up comedian, actress, and writer, Ali Wong can now add author to her list of accomplishments. You might recognize her from her Netflix specials Baby Cobra or Hard Knock Wife. Or maybe you’ve seen her Netflix movie “Always Be My Maybe”. The movie where the meme with Keanu Reeves went viral. If you haven’t seen it, google it - and you’re welcome. She has written a book in the style of letters to her daughters. Each chapter has cute headings like “How I Trapped Your Father” and “A Guide To Asian Restaurants”. But if you think that she has toned down her language, she hasn’t. This is on-brand Ali Wong. Be prepared for a crass, dirty, vulgar style that she is known for. It is very similar to her stand up. If you enjoy her comedy routines you will love this book. If not, maybe watch a special before buying this one. I am a bit in the middle with this one. It was okay, there were some funny parts, some cringe-worthy parts and some yawnable moments. You get some real moments, but not enough. It would have helped me feel more connected to the book had we had more realness. It seemed distant in some ways. I think if you love her humor, you will find lots to laugh at. I’m not in love with potty humor so sometimes I felt like really, again? I understand why she makes those choices, but I don’t like it in men any more than I do in women. I’m not offended that a woman is saying these things. I just am not a big fan. I was still left wanting more after reading this book. I don’t think you get to know her any better from the book, than what you see up on stage. She says herself the those are just caricatures of real people. So I felt like I was reading a caricature of Ali Wong. Not getting to really know her. The most personal moment in the book is the letter her husband writes in the afterwards. There are some funny parts, but it isn’t laugh out loud, hilarious all the way through. As I said, maybe her fans will really love it. Just okay for me.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Ali Wong is funny. Anyone who has seen her stand-up specials would be able to tell you that. Dear Girls gives us a peek into Ali’s mind as she shares her unique memories and insights through a series of letters written to her young daughters. She shares (or perhaps overshares) her thoughts about dating, sex, relationships, childbirth, work, food, and, family with a refreshing mix of humour and honesty. An overlying theme throughout the book is identity. With each letter, the reader gets a closer look into Ali’s view of her identity as a comedian, wife, woman, her Asian ancestry, and ultimately being a Mother. She shares her own exploration of her Vietnamese Mother’s country and culture which helps lead her to a better understanding of her upbringing and ultimately helps her define herself as a Mother as she gains a greater appreciation of her own Mother. Dear Girls is everything you love about Ali Wong, shockingly funny, uniquely perceptive, and perfectly relatable.
SarahM-M 28 days ago
Dear Girls is stand- up comedian Ali Wong's first book. It is frequently (and sometimes unnecessarily) crass, but if you're familiar with Ali's comedy style then this shouldn't surprise you. She strikes a good balance between endearing, funny, and dirty. She is unapologtically honest. _________________________________ The book is broken down into letters, each of which is a seperate lesson or piece of wisdom that she hopes to impart to her daughters, covering various aspects of life from dating to finding good restaurants and everything in between. Ali Wong is brave, willing to share virtually everything in this book. From the things that saddened her, scared her, challenged her, brought her unparalled joy, embarrassed her, and made her feel shame; it's all in there. Some things that I'm sure most wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with their daughters. Or they that would, but at least not in print. This book covers so much: her childhood, dating horror stories, travels, and finding her way in the comedy world. But above everything else, this book is about family. Every story she tells is leading to the bigger picture of how her family came to be. How experiences made her stonger, hardships changed her. How she met her husband, eventually realized he was the man for her and would one day be the father of her children. That the family life and Asian heritage that both she and her husband were raised with lead them to being the two people that would balance each other and shape them into the parents they would become. The charasmatic whirlwind of a comedian that is Ali balanced by her compassionate, hippie husband. Tying both their life experiences together and leading them to the beautiful family this book is about. I adored the final letter, written by her husband to their daughters. I really enjoyed being able to read both points of view on their beginnings (both in life and in their realtionship). It really helped to tie together the entire book. ____ I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for sharing an eARC of Dear Girls by Ali Wong with me for reviewing purposes. This is my honest review.
Anonymous 28 days ago
I received this as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for giving me access. I am a big Ali Wong fan. I’ve watched her Netflix Specials, movies, and shows. Ali Wong is my Spirit Animal (Person?) I highly recommend watching at least one of her specials before reading Dear Girls. You’ll have a better experience reading it in her voice. You know how you read in your inner voice? Well it would be her voice instead. And it makes it that much enjoyable. Better yet, get that audiobook as well, I know I am. That being said, Dear Girls is a hilarious compilation of letters addressed to her daughters. They are full of hilarious stories. Some of which a child would cringe at, “Awww mom! I don’t want to hear about your sexcapades! GROSS!” This was extremely enjoyable and I didn’t want to put it down. I recommend to anyone that loves comedy — especial raunchy comedy — to read this or give this a listen. You’ll be laughing your buns of cinnamon off!
LoveLiBooks 28 days ago
In a series of letters to her daughters, comedian Ali Wong shares stories from her childhood, and lessons on life, love, marriage and her rise to fame. If you have seen her Netflix specials, you know she has a crude sense of humor and this memoir is like a Netflix special in book form. There are some serious moments but in true Ali Wong fashion, she tells the truth but she makes it funny AF. I definitely read this with a smile on my face. I am not a big fan of stand up and I have tried to watch a lot of the different specials on Netflix but none made me laugh as much as Ali Wong. Maybe because I can relate to the topics of her jokes? Either way, I love her and I love this memoir.
MKF 28 days ago
What a hoot! More importantly, what a hoot with a heart. Ali Wong is what she is -and she's as open and funny in print as she is on the screen (or in person). Written as letters to her daughters which are not to be read until they are 21, this covers the coast in terms of her childhood, her early years as a comedian, and becoming their mom. The last chapter, a letter from her husband, is more sincere and thus less successful, I think than Ali's portions, which can delve into the TMI but also skewer the small things. It's not that he isn't a good guy, it's just that the tone is different. Thanks to net galley for the ARC. Try this one for a good laugh. If you haven't seen Wong before, you'll definitely look for her after reading it!