Wanda Lynne Young: Bookalicious


Lainey Gossip Dishes The Dirt On Her Mom In Memoir

Listen To The Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What's a Daughter To Do? A Memoir (Sort Of)

You know the old adage "mother knows best"? Well, in Elaine Lui’s world this couldn’t be more true. Elaine refers to her mother Judy as “ma” in person but this dynamo of a woman is better known as “The Squawking Chicken” in Lui’s circle of friends and fans. If you follow the LaineyGossip site and founder Elaine Lui on the tv shows eTalk and The Social then you already know she doesn’t hold her tongue when it comes to what she calls the fine art of gossiping. Elaine's memoir LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN is a combination of her story and her mother Judy's story. In classic Elaine/Lainey blunt and witty style she doesn't hold back in her memoir and tells it like it is being raised by "The Squawking Chicken."

I had the great pleasure to attend the official book cover release on Elaine’s afternoon show The Social plus a private meet and greet for media. Elaine was very candid when asked about her mother’s reaction to her/their memoir and summed up her mom's feelings saying that Judy is very happy for herself! Elaine also shared her recent obsession with books from the New Adult genre. If you want to stalk her reading habits then check out Lainey’s book binging and recommendations

It’s clear from Elaine's stories that she gets her communication style and penchant for gossip from the assertive and always opinionated "Squawking Chicken." The memoir shares Judy's warnings, rules and advice that have become a big influence on Elaine's personal and professional life. Elaine’s straight talk and honesty is refreshing to read and her keen eye of observation gives much insight into the mother-daughter relationship of this dynamic duo. Check out this revealing excerpt from Elaine's memoir to learn more and read on to find out how you can win a copy of LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN and join a Twitter chat with Lainey!

Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui


You look like dried monkey flakes.

That’s what my ma, the Chinese Squawking Chicken, tells me when she thinks I look like shit on television. Monkeys are skinny. A poorly moisturized monkey is not only skinny but brittle. No one wants to look like dried monkey flakes. Most people think I’m exaggerating at first when I talk about the Squawking Chicken. But once they actually do spend some time with her, they understand. They get it. Right away. She’s Chinese, she squawks like a chicken, she is totally nuts, and I am totally dependent on her. If she says I look like dried monkey flakes, even if everyone else thinks I’m camera-ready, I believe that I look like dried monkey flakes.

This is how it’s been for me my whole life: every thought has been shaped by the Squawking Chicken; every opinion I have is informed by the Squawking Chicken; everything I do is in consultation with the Squawking Chicken. I navigate my life according to the subliminal map she’s purposefully programmed into my head so that I can’t tell the difference anymore whether it’s my own choice, or her choice. And that was probably her objective all along.

The Squawking Chicken has engineered my entire life, completely intentionally. She has always known who I was meant to be; I am who she’s always wanted me to be. And she has spent my entire life pushing me in that direction, taking credit for it along the way. If I am happy and successful it’s because she guided me there. If I am unhappy and unable to meet challenges, it’s because I didn’t listen. Teng means “to listen” or “to hear” in Chinese. The expression for “obedience” in Chinese combines teng with the word for “speak” which is wah. Teng wah literally means “listen to what I say.” I have been listening to the Squawking Chicken for forty years.

Is it self-fulfilling prophecy that I did indeed fail, and sometimes disastrously, on the occasions when I disregarded her instruction? One night she told me, after I’d come home from university and finished all my exams, that I was too tired to go out to see my friends, that my friends would still be there tomorrow when I’d had a good night’s sleep, and, most ominously, that I would regret not staying home. Half an hour later as I was backing the car out of the garage, I realized too late that I’d forgotten to close the rear door. It caught onto the wall while I was reversing and, as I hit the gas, the entire door came off. I didn’t listen to the Squawking Chicken and the Squawking Chicken was right.

“You are controlled by your mother,” a colleague told me recently. It was said with a mixture of fascination and pity, mostly pity. Indeed, some who have observed our interactions do shake their heads, feeling sorry for me that I’ve been held hostage, emotionally and mentally, by a mother living vicariously through her daughter. They’re not wrong about the control, but they are definitely wrong about living vicariously. The Squawking Chicken has her own story, and I’m just a part of it.

I decided to write this book during Ma’s recovery from a long and potentially fatal illness. At first, I wanted to give her something to look forward to, something to get better for. But in telling her story, I realized that I was actually doing it for me—which is what always happens when I think I’m doing something for her. It turns out I’m the one who’s benefiting. In this case, it’s to convince myself that even if the squawking stops, I will always be able to hear it.

Excerpted from Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui. Copyright © Elaine Lui, 2014. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Elaine Lui is a celebrity gossip blogger and the voice behind LaineyGossip, a leading international celebrity news source followed by more than 1.5 million people internationally. Her TEDx Talk, “The Sociology of Gossip,” is about the critical place of gossip within modern pop culture. Elaine has been a reporter on CTV's daily entertainment show, eTalk, since 2006, is now a co-host on CTV's daily talk show, The Social, and previously worked as a consultant for Covenant House in Vancouver, which offers shelter and services for the homeless. Born in Toronto, she lived in Vancouver for thirteen years, before returning to Toronto where she now lives with her husband Jacek Szenowicz and her two beagles.


Elaine Lui's "Book Birthday Cake" image via Twitter @LaineyGossip


In April and May, Elaine Lui will be making appearances across Canada on her "Squawking Chicken" tour! Check out the various locations and dates for a "Squawking Chicken" event near you.


#SquawkingChicken RT Contest – Monday, April 7th

#SquawkingChicken – Wednesday, May 7th

I am thrilled to announce that Bookalicious Twitter Book Club members and friends can participate in a Twitter chat to talk with Elaine Lui aka @LaineyGossip about her memoir LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN! You can join the chat by following the hashtag #SquawkingChicken and tweets from host @BookaliciousCA and author @LaineyGossip on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 from 9:00-10:00 pm ET. But wait, there’s more good news! Twenty lucky Bookalicious Twitter Book Club members will each receive a free copy of LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN and join our #SquawkingChicken chat with our special guest author! And there's even more good new! Random House of Canada has arranged to give away special "Sanity Box" swag to 15 lucky Bookalicious Twitter Book Club members who participant in the #SquawkingChicken chat! What's a "Sanity Box" you ask? Well, that's for you to find out by picking up a copy of LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN or yours to discover by joining the chat! To enter the draw for a copy of LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN you must be a Bookalicious member to participate. Sign up here to join the Bookalicious Twitter Book Club. To be eligible for a free copy of LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN you need to leave a comment below with your Twitter @handle and RT a @BookaliciousCA #SquawkingChicken contest tweet on Monday, April 7th until 11:59 pm ET. Don't forget to mark the #SquawkingChicken chat date May 7th in your calendar and I will tweet you then!


Three lucky Bookalicious reader will win Elaine Lui’s memoir LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN courtesy of Random House of Canada! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment in the "Click Here To Spill It" bubble below. You have until May 11th, 2014 to enter the BBGG. You must be a YMC member, and please be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win.

Yummy Rules and Regulations

You must be a YummyMummyClub.ca member to win. Click here to sign up. It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until May 11th, 2014. Contest open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Winners will be picked using www.random.orgSee full contest rules.

To read more about LISTEN TO THE SQUAWKING CHICKEN and other great books visit RandomHouseCanada.caRetreatByRandomHouse.ca, and CraveByRandomHouse.ca. Social media fans can follow the bookish tweets with @RandomHouseCA on Twitter and find bookworm fun with Random House of Canada on Facebook.


Relish reading,

Wanda Lynne Young



Elaine and Judy Lui photo credit: Dexter Chui


Want to read more memoirs? Check out Jann Arden's Memoir FALLING BACKWARDS and I LOVE YOUR LAUGH by Jessica Holmes.

If you love Lainey's tell it like it is style then you'll enjoy Kathy Buckworth giving moms the business in I AM SO THE BOSS OF YOU!