A Silicon Valley actor is getting his own book.
Jimmy O. Yang, who plays Jian-Yang in the HBO comedy, is writing a memoir titled How to American: A Narcissistic Memoir Disguised as an Immigrant Story. The book — Yang's first — will be published in April 2018 by Da Capo Press.
In it, Yang will share hilarious and poignant stories of assimilating into American culture, which include watching BET's RapCity, figuring out how to date girls who were six inches taller than him and dodging his parents’ unrelenting attempts to get him to be a studious, model Asian son. He also takes a serious turn by writing about his burgeoning acting career, the choices he made and the compromises he refused to make.
Among the chapters in How to American are “How to Thuglife,” about what Yang learned about America by watching three hours of rap videos a day, and “How to Hollywood,” about making the most of the roles given to him as an Asian-American actor. With a clear eye and his irresistibly quirky sense of humor, Yang explores the timely subjects of immigration and the presentation of minorities in Hollywood through personal experience.
In addition to his role as a prankster and hacker house-squatter in Silicon Valley, Yang will next be seen on the big screen in Melissa McCarthy's Life of the Party as well as Crazy Rich Asians. His family emigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles when he was 13. At the time, Yang, who didn’t speak any English, entered adolescence in the L.A. Unified School District and was often caught between the duality of his family’s traditional Chinese values and the independent spirit of American culture.
"I’m excited to share my experience as an immigrant assimilating to a new country and an outsider stumbling my way into Hollywood. It’ll be a fun read and you don’t have to be an immigrant or an actor to relate to the awkwardness of fitting in," said Yang, joking: "But in all honesty, I just want to write this book so I can pick up some girls at Barnes and Noble."
Added publisher John Radziewicz, “The Swedish Academy has already been in touch with me several times about the book, though, come to think of it, the voice on the phone did sound an awful lot like Jimmy’s. But I believe they’re on to something — he’s a natural writer with a great, funny, and very American story to tell.”
Anthony Mattero at Foundry Literary + Media LLC represented Yang. Editor Dan Ambrosio acquired the book for Da Capo.