Monday 27 June 2022

Book ~ "We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story" (2022) Simu Liu

From Goodreads ~ Marvel's newest recruit shares his own inspiring and unexpected origin story, from China to the bright lights of Hollywood. An immigrant who battles everything from parental expectations to cultural stereotypes, Simu Liu struggles to forge a path for himself, rising from the ashes of a failed accounting career (yes, you read that right) to become Shang-Chi.

Our story begins in the city of Harbin, where Simu's parents have left him in the care of his grandparents while they seek to build a future for themselves in Canada. One day, a mysterious stranger shows up at the door; it's Simu's father, who whisks him away from the only home he had ever known and to the land of opportunity and maple syrup.

Life in the new world, however, is not all that it was cracked up to be; Simu's new guardians lack the gentle touch of his grandparents, resulting in harsh words and hurt feelings. His parents, on the other hand, find their new son emotionally distant and difficult to relate to - although they are related by blood, they are separated by culture, language, and values.

As Simu grows up, he plays the part of the pious son well; he gets A's, crushes national math competitions and makes his parents proud. But as time goes on, he grows increasingly disillusioned with the expectations placed on his shoulders, and finds it harder and harder to keep up the charade.

Barely a year out of college, his life hits rock bottom when he is laid off from his first job as an accountant. Unemployed, riddled with shame and with nothing left to lose, Simu finds an ad on Craigslist that will send him on a wildly unexpected journey, into the mysterious world of show business.

Through a swath of rejections and comical mishaps, it is ultimately Simu's determination to carve out a path for himself that leads him to not only succeed as an actor, but also open the door to reconciling with his parents. After all, the courage to pursue his ambitions at all costs is something that he inherited from his parents, who themselves defied impossible odds in order to come to Canada.

Simu Liu is a Canadian actor, author and stuntman.  He was born in China in 1989.  His parents left him with his grandparents to move to Kingston, Ontario, so they could continue their education.  He moved to be with them when he was five.  His parents had a dream for him to be smart and successful and did all they could for him to realize this dream ... but their dream wasn't his dream and this caused issues.  

He didn't do as well as they had hoped but did land a job as an accountant but was fired within a year.  Though his parents weren't happy, this gave him the opportunity to pursue his dream of being an actor.  It was a long road for him but he eventually landed the part of Jung Kim in the CBC's Kim's Convenience and the superhero Shang-Chi in the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

While I'm not a fan of Marvel-type movies and only occasionally watched Kim's Convenience, I like reading bios/autobios and was interested in this one because he is Canadian.  I liked the writing style ... I found it casual and honest.  It was a bit heartbreaking, though, to read how abusive his parents were when he was growing up ... cold and actually beating him.  Yes, they had high expectations given all they'd gone through to give him everything they never had but that's no excuse for the way they treated him.  I found it hard to believe that he has forgiven them and they are still a big part of his life ... it's like a couple chapters are missing from the book to let us know how he was able to put all that behind him and how they can be so accepting of him now while they treated him so badly in the past.

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