We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story by Simu Liu was released into the world on May 17, which also happens to be the day that the copy I pre-ordered from Amazon was delivered to my house. I was all set to read it immediately in preparation for meeting Simu that following Sunday, May 22. Alas, his new movie star life got in the way of that and the book signing was rescheduled to June 17 (which also meant that I got distracted by other books in the meantime).

Fast forward to June 11, about a week before the book signing. It's 5:00pm and I crack open the book for the first time and start reading. Four pages in, I'm already crying. This is gonna be good. After a quick pause to wipe my tears (and make a post on Instagram about how I was already feeling emotional, of course), I kept reading.

And reading.

And reading.

(Pause to tuck my daughter into bed)

And more reading.

Suddenly, it's 2:00am.

I don't know how I got here. My face is wet with tears, but there's a small smile on my face. I shut the book and clutch it to my chest. I feel all the overwhelming Asian joy that just...exists in the world. It's been a rough couple years for my community, but we're still here. Existing and taking up space. Showing the world that we belong, that we can do anything anyone else can. 

This book is not your typical Hollywood memoir. Or maybe it is. I'm not sure, I don't think I've read any other Hollywood memoirs to compare it to. But it feels anything but typical.

Simu Liu gets vulnerable, telling stories about his past and how he and his family came to the point they are now. General audiences will probably be horrified by some of the events he talks about, but I have a feeling that, like myself, many fellow children of immigrants (especially Asian and specifically Chinese immigrants) won't even bat an eyelash. The stories of his childhood ring eerily similar to mine, lending a very surreal feel to the reading experience.

Is this a story that feels self-congratulatory? Not in the slightest. Simu talks very candidly about the struggles that he went through to get to his role of a lifetime - playing the titular master of kung fu, Shang-Chi, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Will the book hit you in the feels? Yeah, probably. But you'll also laugh out loud. This entire book felt like sitting down with your best friend and just talking about life. And the best life conversations also involve the feels and laughter.

One thing that I want to talk about is the fact that, at one point early on (I think Chapter 2?), Simu tells you that he's going to talk about his parents' stories and their journey from China to Canada and gives you an out - you can skip ahead to Chapter 7 if you don't want to read about them. But I highly, highly recommend that you read every single word he writes. The story of his parents gives you much needed background that will inform the decisions they make later and how they raise him.

This was a fun, quick read (I obviously read it in 9 hours with very minimal breaks) and will inspire you to get out there and just...do the thing. Whatever it is that you are holding on to, whatever dreams you've been considering pursuing, take a chance on yourself. Put in the effort and believe that you can. You may not get that dream Marvel role you've always wanted...

...but what if you do?

We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story by Simu Liu is available now wherever books are sold.

For readers with sensitivities, I find it imperative to note that this book contains mentions of child abuse (both emotional and physical), depression, and thoughts of suicide.