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Following Foo: (the electronic adventures of The Chestnut Man)

Following Foo: (the electronic adventures of The Chestnut Man)

5.0 2
by B.D. Wong

Every now and then there comes along a literary voice so strong, so originally sincere, and so uniquely distinct that the words on the page seem to sing and to scream and to dance — all at once and all on their own. Such is the wonderful writing debut of acclaimed actor B.D. Wong.

With a remarkable mixture of upbeat optimism, unexpected hilarity, and


Every now and then there comes along a literary voice so strong, so originally sincere, and so uniquely distinct that the words on the page seem to sing and to scream and to dance — all at once and all on their own. Such is the wonderful writing debut of acclaimed actor B.D. Wong.

With a remarkable mixture of upbeat optimism, unexpected hilarity, and heart-wrenching sadness, Wong takes the reader deep inside both his psyche and the neonatal intensive care unit where he spent the better part of three months following the harrowing medical twists and turns that took place after the premature birth of his twins."Once upon a time," as Wong explains in his true story, Following Foo: (the electronic adventures of the Chestnut Man), "my partner and I found ourselves expecting, with the help of a surrogate mother, modern medical science, and lots of good luck and prayers. To add to our blessing, she was carrying twins! Things were pretty swell ... until the twins arrived almost three months early. For those of you who don't know, babies that come almost three months early are pretty little, and boy are they scary-looking. Especially when you're their dad ... "

Originally based on a series of real-time E-mails sent to keep his friends and family abreast of the daily madness and miracles of "early" parenthood, this book is a gem, a joy, and an inspiration to anyone who has ever taken a ride on the roller coaster of life and tried to keep both sense of humor and sanity intact.

Editorial Reviews

Michelle Kwan
“The incredible human spirit has never been more apparent than in this uplifting journey.”
John Lithgow
“In his first book, B.D. Wong befriends the world.”
Jill Clayburgh
“Any parent will identify with this extraordinary, dramatic, and heart-wrenching story.”
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. (June) Forecast: Wong's celebrity status is sure to help move this book of an alternative family-and the lively, hip cover will likely make the book jump out from other parenting titles. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When twin sons are born prematurely to actor Wong (Law & Order: SVU) via a surrogate mother, he is swept up in the ensuing maelstrom, feeling "like Noah Wyle from ER when he hasn't read the script." The first twin dies, and the second begins his journey to eventual health like all preemies-one day at a time. Elaborating on "real-time" e-mails written to friends, Wong retells the events surrounding the birth and ensuing months. Personal and heartfelt, he jumps around a bit yet captures perfectly the simultaneous heartbreak and joy of many difficult, disorienting moments. The minute detail will make readers feel like a close friend getting the story over a pot of coffee, and Wong's engaging tone and unerringly positive attitude compensate for touches of self-indulgence and rambling. Although Wong is a gay father, that is not the point of the narrative. Recommended for all parenting collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Unabashedly emotional, at times cloyingly cute memoir of how Chinese-American actor Wong and his partner became parents. Composed mostly of e-mail the author sent and received, the narrative also includes baby Jackson�s imagined recollections (more mawkish than moving) of his birth and early days. Beginning with the premature arrival of Jackson and his short-lived twin, Boaz, Wong describes the first anxious hours and the roller-coaster days that followed as Boaz died and Jackson struggled to survive. In addition to a nail-biting account of the ordeal that ended when he was finally able to take Jackson home, the author also provides a tribute to his Chinese-American family in San Francisco and an account of an increasingly common but still controversial form of parenthood. In the late 1990s, Wong and long-time partner Richie, deciding that they wanted a child who would share their Chinese and Jewish heritages, began researching the options. Through a California agency they found a surrogate mother, Shauna, who already had two children. Richie�s sister, also already a mother, was prepared to donate eggs, while Wong would provide the sperm for in-vitro fertilization. The embryos were successfully implanted, but Shauna went into early labor, and the babies were born in May instead of August. Boaz, fatally anemic, died within hours. Jackson survived, but his lungs were immature and his colon blocked; he had to be flown by chartered plane to another hospital for more specialized care. As Wong relates his emotions, his worries, and the struggles to fulfill his professional obligations on both coasts, he also lovingly details his family�s support. The e-mails from sympathizers, friends, family,and colleagues, however personally affecting and helpful they were, pad the text rather than inform it. Despite the often grim developments, energetic and upbeat reportage from the parental frontlines. Agent: Alan Nevins/The Firm

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

B. D. Wong made his Broadway debut in M. Butterfly. He is the only actor to be honored with the Tony Award®, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Clarence Derwent Award, and Theater World Award for the same performance.

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Following Foo 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
B.D. wong has done it all hes acted in movies, on stage,and T.V. shows, and now he comes out with a book this book is fantastic. Wong touched the public with an incredibly revealing story documenting the trials and challenges of surrogate parenthood of premature twins. this book Brings a new meaning behind the words of ¿Intensive Care,¿ the book follows Wong and the three-month hospital stay of Jackson Foo, detailing everything from pneumonia to poop. Despite the unimaginable turn of events of Foo¿s health taking the family on the wildest rollercoaster ride of their life, Wong keeps an inspirational attitude. I would tell any one to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author Robert Lipsyte wrote that when you are sick, you go to the 'Country of Illness,' a place where time is slow, your priorities change, your career takes a back seat, the kindness of strangers is realized, and the lives of health care workers are suddenly noticed. It is to this country that the author and his family traveled on Memorial Day Sunday, May 28, 2000. It is 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 friends informed of the roller coaster progress, ups and downs, through a series of emails. 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 with tears (hopefully not on the subway). The book is an adventurous journey into fatherhood, Jewish and Chinese American families, medical miracles, social work, and gynecology, flavored with sprinkling asides into life in television and film acting. 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 (you will never curse having to change your healthy child's diaper when u realize that some kids can't even poop). The book is impossible to put down, as you hunger to learn whether first-born Boaz Dov Wong (Boaz: the swift, strong, giving biblical character who rescues Ruth and fathers the ancestors of King David; Dov: the quiet strength of a peaceful bear) and younger Jackson Foo Wong (Jackson/Yohanan: graciousness of god; Foo: wealth, for his grandfather) will survive and thrive.