book cover

We Were Dreamers

Simu Liu
28 May 2022
I didn’t know why I was quite determined to get the audiobook version, probably after listening to the audio sample I knew a self-narrated biography cannot go wrong with the protagonist narrating his own story, and he’s an actor.
Simu Liu rose to fame for Shang-chi, but before Shang-chi he was in a show called “Kim’s Convenience” which we happened to have watched on Netflix before. Not a marvel fan (oops) so it was not until we got hold briefly of Disney+ and then watched the ever famous first Asian Superhero Marvel film. Impression before reading the book as he often tweeted very outspoken stuff, and seemed to have a lot of haters. His tweets are sarcastic but you can feel his Asian pride - almost defensive.
I decided to give it a go because although it seemed to be yet another “rising from poor through hardship and got a golden ticket at the end fairy tale story”, he represents a certain portion of Asian that I felt familiar with, not that the upbringing is anywhere similar.
Ended up finishing it within a day. Simply unstoppable!
The book is split into 3 acts: as a common script structure - Act 1,2 and 3. I am sure that for his real life, seemingly at Act 3 in this book already, there will probably be a season 2 with more acts. It began and ended with him getting the Shangchi role, his dream role. I was particularly mesmerised by Act 1, which was the main reason why I couldn’t stop reading. His parents were elite engineers in China, especially during a time when only a very few could go into college to study. He described that per household one member needed to be sent away to a rural area to farm (to boost productivity). His mom was the top student despite having to take care of her young siblings, and she volunteered to step up in order not to deprive her siblings of hardship. His mom didn’t settle for anything less. She yearned for more. That sparked the idea of going to the far west. It was nothing but easy.
Following the story, at times I’d feel Simu Liu totally deserved to be fired, and from a storytelling perspective, he needed to be tripped over a few times for his “growth”. On the other side, you might also wonder if his parents were a little bit easier on him when he was younger, he’s not going to be the Simu Liu as he is today. You can tell he has (really) high self-esteem, and the entire book’s after-taste really feels like it was an honest confession of an ENTP.
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