I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight

Margaret Cho, Author . Riverhead $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-57322-319-5

The cover photo—comedian Cho posing Patty Hearst–style before a Symbionese Liberation Army emblem—aptly conveys this messy personal manifesto's collision of in-your-face militance and little-girl-lost victimology. The author mixes rants against war, racism, misogyny, homophobia and various prominent Republicans with confessional ponderings of her identity as a Korean-American, her difficulties with her parents and her problems with her body. The political and the personal are inseparable from the celebrity preening: "I wasn't sure... which I hated more," Cho muses, "my skin color or my talent." When she manages to break from her rage, tears and ego—as in a riff on the Asian stereotypes she gets offered as movie parts—Cho writes with perception and humor. More often, though, she wallows in screeds against the white male power structure, sprinkled with gangsta-rap posturing to establish her outlaw credentials. Even so feeble a patriarch as Andy Rooney is lambasted for "his boring ass opinions on the stupid things rich white folks think about because... they are not worried about getting called a 'fag' in school, or whether or not you have the courage and stamina to press charges against your rapist." Right on, Tania would say, but readers may wish Cho would lighten up. Agent, David Vigliano. (Oct. 20)

Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-1-59448-220-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-305788-8
Paperback - 978-1-59448-227-4
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