High tech meets high touch in actor B.D. Wongs remarkable electronic parenting memoir, Following Foo
The story begins when the surrogate mother, carrying twins for Wong and longtime partner Richie, gives birth 11 weeks early. The loss of the first twin and the anguished nurturing of the tiny Foo are described in a series of e-mails for friends, family and theatrical colleagues, whose responses are also reprinted. Readers ride the roller coaster of Foos surgeries, eye exams, pneumonia scares, dropping heart rate, and brochospasms. Although Wong is writing about a unique situation, he manages to capture the fear and awe that every parent will recognize.
Wongs wiry alertness, sly show-business humor, and aching vulnerability are a potent mix. In one e-mail, he captures the terror and tenderness of the intensive-care nursery. In another, he celebrates Foos first, long- awaited "poop." He overeats, describes his parents in loving detail, and leaves the door of a hospital refrigerator (packed with frozen breast milk) wide open. The authors voice crackles with love, energy and astute observation. Occasionally his essays--for example, one written from baby Foos perspective--seem forced. Also, the decision to include the name-dropping "credits" of the friends who responded to his e-mails mar this otherwise exceptional tale. Still, these don't obscure the book's charms. Early in the book, Wong compares his newborn son to "a little chestnut mana wise old man selling chestnuts on a snowy night." By the books end, it is Wongs hard-won wisdom that will warm readers. --Barbara Mackoff
From Publishers Weekly
In this charismatic parenting memoir, Tony Award-winning actor Wong details the days following the premature birth of his biological twin boys via surrogate mother. Based on e-mail messages Wong sent to family and friends, the book recounts Wong's and his partner's remarkable highs and lows on the road to parenthood. When surrogate mother Shauna goes into labor two months early in California, Wong, on location on the West Coast, rushes with her to the hospital. In the following hours, Wong becomes a father, but loses one son, a victim of "twin to twin transfusion syndrome," a serious condition not uncommon in identical twin pregnancies. Facing the death of Boaz and the delicate survival of Jackson Foo is not easy. Dealing with bereavement and jubilation at once, Wong says farewell to Boaz and devotes the next three months to Foo's survival in the ICU, where he encounters a challenging roller-coaster ride of experiences and emotions. Foo (born at two pounds, 14 ounces) is a fighter, and with the love of his dads and a strong supporting cast, readers follow his progress to eventual triumph. Written with humor and wit, Wong's memoir often compares his real-life experiences to TV or movies; he writes of medical personnel with compassion and includes e-mail from friends and family in the narration of his tiny hero's journey. Wong's is a story of fatherhood, struggle and the rejuvenating power of love that will undoubtedly garner a standing ovation from parents, particularly those who have met with close calls of their own.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.