We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story

Morrow. May 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780063046498. $27.99. MEMOIR
Liu, the star of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, tells the complex story of his parents’ childhood in China during the Cultural Revolution and their sacrifices and struggles to get an education, first in China and then in Canada. He shares his experiences as a young child left in the care of his grandparents in China and later as an only child adjusting to life in a new country, overwhelmed by his parents’ expectations of academic achievement. Liu notes that he was compelled to share his story to illuminate how this drive for academic success in families comes with psychological scars from emotional, and sometimes physical, abuse. Liu later reconciled with his parents, and they share their story in hopes of helping other families break this pattern of behavior. Liu shares anecdotes about getting his first big break with Kim’s Convenience, and the community of Asian American actors in Hollywood who embraced him. The majority of this compelling memoir is about his family experience.
VERDICT A powerful story about a family struggling under the weight of definitions of sacrifice and success, and reconciliation and forgiveness.
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