In this debut essay collection, a Myanmar millennial challenges us to examine the knots and complications of immigration status, eating habits, Western feminism in an Asian home, and more, guiding us toward an expansive idea of what it means to be a Myanmar woman today.
Across two essays [the author] lucidly examines her fraught relationship with her own name ... Some essays end too neatly...But these are only minor detractions from the lovely complexity of a fresh and insightful debut.
... very engaging, lucidly written, and entertaining ... Overall, this is a fascinating collection of essays that brilliantly combines humorous and serious observations of cultural differences and issues of gender equality. One of the joys is to trace the author’s growing evolution and self-confidence as a writer and as an independent person, willing to face her own insecurities about, for example, her poor written skills in the Myanmar language ... The volume repays close reading though a few of the essays are overlong and repetitive. Probably the readers who benefit the most will have comparable trajectories, or at least some knowledge of societies that share some comparable characteristics to those of Myanmar, which is not for example alone in its naming patterns, difficult scripts, or ideals of femininity. Perhaps in her next volume Pyae Pyae will explore some of these seemingly highly idiosyncratic features in a broader cultural and political context.
... it’s easy to see why [Moe Thet War] chose writing: she’s good at it ... Despite her conversational tone, Moe Thet War is decisive and deft, even when her topics are expansive ... It is clear that she has spent time and effort honing her technique; we get glimpses of this process ... It’s fitting—it’s unavoidable—that Moe Thet War’s writing reflects how her heritage informs every part of her life, including those parts heavily colored by her time abroad ... It’s exactly when Moe Thet War dwells uncomfortably in between identities that her insights are strongest ... Reading You’ve Changed is akin to conversing late into the night with an intelligent friend. There is a bounty of asides and caveats to reassure the reader of the author’s self-awareness and humor. At times, these reservations can blur the emotional point, especially when the essays run long or past their climax, dampening the overall effect. Accordingly, it’s the moments when Moe Thet War lays down her guard that her writing truly shines. When she makes a straightforward, vulnerable statement, it lands like a punch to the gut.