RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewIn her clear, concise prose, Chung makes the personal political, tackling everything from America’s crushingly unjust health care system to the country’s gauzy assumptions about adoption, a practice that is itself rooted in economic inequality. Her observations are particularly timely at a moment when life expectancy in the United States is falling ... Chung writes with aching and transcendent longing — for a past she never had; for her flawed home state; and for a more compassionate future ... With this work, Chung offers a luminous addition to the literature of loss.
Carmen Rita Wong
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewWong gives a riveting account of an early-1970s childhood that was molded by the cultures of her separated immigrant parents ... The subjects of Why Didn’t You Tell Me? are weighty, ranging from Wong’s (justifiable) rage at her mother’s narcissism to her crushing grief after the loss of a sibling. But she tells her story in vivid conversational prose that will make readers feel they’re listening to a master storyteller on a long car trip.
MixedNew York Times Book ReviewThe book takes time to find its footing ... Although Bilton says the book is based in part on written records, conversations and photographs, some aspects of Debra’s story seem implausible. Debra catalogs a long list of celebrity lovers and claims her rebuff of a sexual advance by Mick Jagger inspired one of rock’s most famous lyrics, a fact unconfirmed by music historians ... Bilton says she checked the facts of her memoir \'where I could.\' Yet she makes some basic errors ... These oversights are regrettable, because when Bilton writes about her own experiences, away from the shadow of her mercurial mother, she shines a much-needed light on the impact of the secretive, unregulated world of sperm donations ... Bilton feels betrayed by her mother’s half-truths and her father’s broken promise, but stops short of examining the highly profitable, largely unregulated fertility industry that allowed a single man to father at least 35 siblings.