Mixed Plate: Chronicles of an All-American Combo

Dey St.: Morrow. Mar. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780062969965. $27.99. MEMOIR
Koy’s words almost accost readers with the tastes and sounds of the bifurcated world he inhabited as the son of a white, conservative military father and a Filipino mother. His childhood prepared him for his career in comedy; as he explains, he became used to entertaining friends and family since they couldn’t afford to go to shows or movies. It’s this bold desire to fill the spaces left empty by poverty, by need, by marginalization that Koy fills with the stories comprising this remarkable memoir, beginning with his childhood growing up on military bases in the Philippines and elsewhere. Koy candidly recalls the culture shock of adjusting to life in the United States as an 11-year-old, eventually settling in Tacoma, WA, where his mom longed to find a Filipino community. Koy is personable throughout, whether describing idolizing his older brother while simultaneously watching him struggle with mental illness; trying to become as American as possible by developing a love for the mall; and turning toward comedy to help cope with grief and anger. Koy includes occasional recipes of his favorite dishes, including lumpia and chicken adobo.
VERDICT A beautiful exploration of finding hope, humor, and a voice. A must-read for fans of memoirs.
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