Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What's a Daughter To Do? A Memoir by Elaine Lui
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of The Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui in return for an honest review. I gave this book 2 Stars because it was very well written. That's all I thought it had going for it.
Elaine Lui has a very unusual mother who has a very unusual background. The mother is the Squawking Chicken about whom Lui has managed to put together enough material to cover a whole book. The Squawking Chicken sees no need to filter anything she says. That others may have sensitive feelings is of no concern to her since she feels justified in speaking her mind whenever and wherever she pleases. As a result, most of the time she comes off as a rotten little brat who never learned the lesson that children should be seen but not heard. However, she's not a child, and she has lived long enough to have learned a few lessons in socially acceptable behavior. It seems to me she simply chooses to ignore any rules of behavior that mean she has to curtail her loud mouth and her disruptive announcements. According to Lui, it isn't that her mother is unaware of how her behavior affects others; she simply believes that she's right in whatever situation she finds herself where criticism would be in order. Lui goes through some convoluted explanations why what her mother says and does is acceptable. If she believes that, I doubt any time spent with a psychiatrist would ever be enough for her to work through the insecurities and lack of self-esteem her mother has managed to pass along.
I did not enjoy reading this book. It was a little bit like having to sit and watch someone pick the wings off flies. It's distasteful and uncomfortable, but I requested this book, so I feel an obligation to finish it no matter how much I dislike what I'm learning. Part of my problem with the book is that I had a mother like The Squawking Chicken. She wasn't Asian, she was Pennsylvania Dutch, and she did not sound like a squawking chicken when she spoke; she sounded more like a Stampeding Pissed-Off Elephant in Heat. There was no wisdom in her edicts; everything in this world revolved around her and others existed only in ways in which she could benefit from them. These women are not the ones we need to read about outside of the horror genre. I would not recommend this book to anyone. Frankly, it's just too pathetic.
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