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Micro Review: Pyae Moe Thet War's 'You've Changed'
How to be a Myanmar person—a baker, swimmer, writer and woman—on your own terms rather than those of the colonizer? You’ve Changed traces the journey of a woman who spent her young adulthood in the US and UK before returning to her hometown of Yangon, where she still lives.
Micro Review by Bonnie Chow
Pyae Moe Thet War shares the best moments reflecting on her journey away from home and back to Myanmar. She transforms into her own definition a woman finding a balance between the Western and Eastern worlds. There were so many moments when I deeply sighed in unison, dreamt of having known my grandmother’s stories, and cried YES from the bottom of my heart. While living in new spaces abroad, War wrangles belonging through her very own name, and determines the boundaries in the relationships with her family and boyfriend with the utmost care — giving me new insights about culture and independence I hadn’t thought to put words to before.
An interesting passage that made me think:
The first time I put my period underwear in the same wash as Toothpick’s clothes, I half-expected A May to burst through my front door after having sprinted from Yangon to Oxford in a matter of minutes, screaming at the top of her lungs, Did you learn nothing from me? We are Myanmar! We don’t do this! But of course she didn’t, nor did she know, and I just stood there, equally proud of the stigmas I had overcome and ashamed of how I had turned my back on my culture, watching his and my clothing go round and round in my washing machine, my dirty period underwear mix-ing and getting tangled up with his spiritually superior shirts and defiling his hpone.
War reminds me of how much I love rice, the need to feel safe, to lean into my rebellion against the patriarchy, and that I too am living this double life as an Asian-American. Picking up this book feels like a great laugh and a giant hug from a big sister I’ve never had.
Bonnie Chow is a designer, artist, and wanderer from Washington, DC. You can always find her seeking a perfect thrift, hoarding sketchbooks, and currently picking up rollerskating. IG: @bonniechow
You can pre-order ‘You’ve Changed’ here on Bookshop, ships May 3rd.