Why Didn't You Tell Me?

Why Didn't You Tell Me? A Memoir

A dramatic memoir of one woman’s search for belonging after a DNA test upends her sense of identity, leading her on a quest to understand her immigrant mother's long-held secrets Carmen Rita Wong—media entrepreneur, former national television host, and advice columnist—has always craved a sense of belonging. First, in a warm room full of Black and brown Latina women cheering on her dancing during her childhood in Harlem. Then, among the almost exclusively white playgrounds of New Hampshire, after her mother married her stepfather, Charlie, who seemed to be the ideal of the white American dad. She had always believed what her mother told her: that her father was a man named Peter Wong, a Chinese hustler whom she was forced to marry for a green card. But then, as Carmen’s mother was dying of cancer, Charlie revealed that he was actually her father—a painful revelation made all the more confusing when a DNA test later proved that neither Peter nor Charlie was her father. It was too late for answers. Her mother had passed away. Carmen wanted to shake her mother’s soul at its shoulders and demand: “Why didn’t you tell me?” What follows is Carmen’s search for understanding of who she is as she peels back the layers of her mother’s history and the secrets that seep out. Why Didn’t You Tell Me? is a riveting and poignant story of Carmen’s experience of race and culture in America and how it shapes who we think we are.
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