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Following Foo: (the electronic adventures of The Chestnut Man) Hardcover – May 13, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

High tech meets high touch in actor B.D. Wong’s 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 Foo’s 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.

Wong’s 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 Foo’s 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 author’s voice crackles with love, energy and astute observation. Occasionally his essays--for example, one written from baby Foo’s 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 man—a wise old man selling chestnuts on a snowy night." By the book’s end, it is Wong’s 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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperEntertainment; 1 edition (May 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060529539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060529536
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "mom2julia" on May 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I saw this book, I just had to read it. Not because of who the author was or that he was gay, but because he LIVED what I was LIVING. Mr. Wong's book is the ONLY book about NICU babies that I would suggest as a MUST READ for critically premature parents! It doesn't help you understand the medical terms, it helps you understand YOU, as a parent of a tiny ray of life in a plastic box.
I lost a premature daughter (Mary) at 23 weeks, eleven months after that my second premature baby (Julia)was born at a whopping 28 weeks. I still was grieving Mary's death while trying to stay "upbeat" and "positive" about my Julia in the NICU. I joked, I laughed, but I hid A LOT of emotions. Everybody tells you how strong you are, what a brave person you are, while inside you are screaming "WHY MY CHILDREN!?!". You feel like you are the ONLY person in the world who feels that way.
Well, Mr. Wong's book is the ONLY book I have read that made me feel like I wasn't going crazy. He not only addressed the issues of being a parent of a NICU baby, but losing a child, and the realities of coping with that loss while being exatically happy your child has made a huge accomplishment (She either pooped, or ate half a teaspoon of breastmilk... major things in a NICU).
His humor at the most critical of times is very similar to how I dealt with things when the dr.s would say... "Well, Julia had a good day today, she only stopped breathing twice, and oh, by the way, her blood levels show she may need a transfustion, etc."
Life in the NICU is like constantly waiting for the shoe to drop! And when it does, it is usually a size 15 triple E!
I would love for Mr. Wong to do a follow up to his book, maybe "Following Foo, The Early Years".
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on May 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
...It was on this evening that the actor/singer B.D. Wong and his talent agent partner, Richard Jackson, became fathers in Modesto, CA. Their twin sons were born woefully, dangerously, nearly 3 months premature. Over the next several months, Wong kept his ever increasing list of friends informed of the roller coaster progress, the ups and downs, through a series of emailed updates. These introspective, mesmerizing, hopeful, honest emails got passed around, and have been compiled to create this book. At times it elicits chuckles, sometimes you will thank god for unsung heroic healthcare workers, and at other times your eyes will well up with tears. The book is an adventurous journey into fatherhood, Jewish and Chinese American families, medical miracles, social work, gynecology, as well as sprinkling asides into life in television and film acting, food, and parenting.
The words are presented in a variety of fonts and styles to add drama to the reading. Graphics from the Milton Bradley games of Operation and Ka-boom also drive home some messages. Wong also includes some of the songs he wrote, such as his ode to Poop.
The book is impossible to put down, as you hunger to learn whether first-born Boaz Dov Wong (Boaz: the swift, strong, hospitable, giving biblical character who rescues Ruth and fathers the line of King David; Dov: the quiet strength of a peaceful bear) and younger Jackson Foo Wong (Jackson/Yohanan: for his father's surname, graciousness of god; Foo: wealth, for his grandfather) will survive and thrive. At the end of each update, Wong includes snippets of the emails responses he received from friends, family, nurses, and doctors, including other famous celebrity/parents, such as Joel Gray, Jane Kazmarek, Barbara Barry, Margaret Cho, Michelle Kwan, and John Lithgow.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harold C. Connolly Jr. on September 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What strikes me most about Following Foo is the amazingly creative writing style of Mr. Wong. Through his words I was immersed into the emotions, minds, and lives of he and his family. Not only did I get to learn what happened in this incredible true story but I actually felt some aspects of the pain and joy that these brave people experienced. This is an incredible feat of writing. Mr. Wong communicates his feelings in words to totally move me. There I was on a plane reading the book, one minute crying, next laughing out loud. Those around me, each in their own time, all inquired as to the nature of the book, having watched me for several hours. Mr. Wong captivates the emotions of the reader through his moments of happiness and grieve, laughter and pain, all within the snap of a finger. Sure the book is a tribute to parenthood and Gay life, but it is far more than that. Through words he captures the dream of life. I really felt as though I was living through parts of the story! I was so moved by the book and the atmosphere that Mr. Wong creates that I can only but jump up and down with joy and gratitude that he choose to share with the world this story. He really opens his heart and mind to the world through this book. I wait with baited breath for the next written work by the author (although I would be most thankful if it were not such a difficult true story for the author to write about). Mr. Wong may have long been a noted as an accomplished and acclaimed actor. Through his book he certainly has earned the title of author extraordinary. It is rare indeed for an author's first book to be so excellent. Finally, much of the book is a compilation of e-mails written by the author to his loved one as updates during the events of his life.Read more ›
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