cover image Why Didn’t You Tell Me?: A Memoir

Why Didn’t You Tell Me?: A Memoir

Carmen Rita Wong. Crown, $28 (240p) ISBN 978-0-593-24025-0

In this propulsive account from former CNBC host Wong (Never Too Late), a life built on secrets unfolds to reveal a suspenseful story about race, family, and identity. Born in 1971 to immigrant parents who were separated, Wong was raised with her brother by her Dominican mother, Lupe, and extended family in Harlem, while their Chinese father, Peter, plied them with extravagant dinners in Chinatown. Her early childhood, shaped by “Dominican, Chinese, and Black uptown cultures,” was abruptly uprooted when Lupe married an Italian American man and moved the family to New England. Once there, five-year-old Wong was forced to navigate a new world of white picket fences that, she writes, “scrub[bed] our souls of our culture like a giant eraser... our brownness... blown off the page.” As she whisks readers from her adolescence with her tight-lipped mother to her adulthood in New York City in the 2000s, explosive truths are revealed about Lupe’s marriages in the wake of her death, leaving Wong with the task of finding out who her real biological father is. Packing in raw emotion, sharp cultural commentary, and plenty of intrigue, this has all the makings of a book that’s destined for the big screen. This hits the mark. Agent: Johanna Castillo, Writers House. (July)