Elaine Lui, an eTalk reporter, one of the cohosts on The Social and creator of celeb gossip blog LaineyGossip, recounts the life lessons she has learned from her mother, traditions and wisdom deeply rooted in her culture. From her mother’s childhood to the trials and tribulations while growing up, Lui is candid and unapologetic, humble and respectful in her stories about the Squawking Chicken – the name she calls her mother endearingly.
This book personally resonated with me a lot. While my own mother isn’t loud and outspoken like Lui’s is, it gave me a lot of insight and understanding into my parents growing up from that generation. Being a first generation Canadian, much of the Chinese culture can sometimes bewilder me and this book had so many familiar traditions and sayings that I had heard when I was growing up that I couldn’t help but chuckle through it all.
The chapters are broken out in different “lessons” that Lui had learned from her mother rather than have the story be told chronologically. This worked to keep the wisdom and messages relevant but there were moments that I felt a bit confused to the timing. This way left the narrative a bit more jumpy, where at one point her mother would have left to go back to Hong Kong, and then suddenly she’s in Canada sending her father out West to visit her. It wasn’t until a couple chapters later that it was explained about why she was back in Canada again. Not a huge deal, but it did make me flip back and forth a few times wondering if I had missed something.
Listen to the Squawking Chicken is an entertaining read that I devoured in one sitting. There were as many laugh out loud moments as there were cringe-worthy ones that I could fully relate to, even reading some out to my own mom who explained the colloquialisms. It’s a great gift for Mother’s Day, and while those who grew up around the Asian culture may find more relevance to it, I think first-generation kids of immigrant parents in general will enjoy this as well.