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  • Superfan: How Pop Culture Broke My Heart

  • A Memoir
  • Written by: Jen Sookfong Lee
  • Narrated by: Jen Sookfong Lee
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Superfan: How Pop Culture Broke My Heart

Written by: Jen Sookfong Lee
Narrated by: Jen Sookfong Lee
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Publisher's Summary

A TODAY Show Recommended Read, this beautifully intimate memoir-in-pieces uses one woman's life-long love affair with pop culture as a revelatory lens to explore family, identity, belonging, grief, and the power of female rage. Named a most anticipated book of the year by the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, and a best book of the year so far by Apple Books and Audible.ca.

For most of Jen Sookfong Lee's life, pop culture was an escape from family tragedy and a means of fitting in with the larger culture around her. Anne of Green Gables promised her that, despite losing her father at the age of twelve, one day she might still have the loving family of her dreams. Princess Diana was proof that maybe there was more to being a good girl after all. And yet as Jen grew up, she began to recognize the ways in which pop culture was not made for someone like her—the child of Chinese immigrant parents who looked for safety in the invisibility afforded by embracing model minority myths.

Ranging from the unattainable perfection of Gwyneth Paltrow and the father-figure familiarity of Bob Ross, to the long shadow cast by The Joy Luck Club and the life lessons she has learned from Rihanna, Jen weaves together key moments in pop culture with stories of her own failings, longings, and struggles as she navigates the minefields that come with carving her own path as an Asian woman, single mother, and writer. And with great wit, bracing honesty, and a deep appreciation for the ways culture shapes us, she draws direct lines between the spectacle of the popular, the intimacy of our personal bonds, and the social foundations of our collective obsessions.

©2023 Jen Sookfong Lee (P)2023 McClelland & Stewart

What the critics say

Finalist for the 2024 Forest of Reading Evergreen Book Award
Named a Best Book of 2023 by the
Globe and Mail and Apple Books Canada
A TODAY Show Recommended Read

“[Superfan] is a dazzling, kaleidoscopic memoir, written with a surprising candour and a stylistic looseness that allows the narrative to shift and change, often without warning, but never leaving the reader behind.[…]Superfan as a whole [is] a bravura performance: free-ranging and allusive, but tightly controlled; spanning multiple decades but firmly rooted in individual moments. It’s heady, thought-provoking, and emotionally fraught stuff, and a singular reading experience.”—Toronto Star

"By peeling back the layers of her own life as a Chinese Canadian woman willing to defend the pleasures of watching the Kardashians, Lee reveals the complexities of our broader culture and its limitations. Expect that through this book Lee will find her own superfans."—Quill and Quire

Superfan is a book you will want to simultaneously hug close to your chest and press insistently into others’ hands. There is such honesty, intelligence, warmth, and vulnerability to these essays that, when you finally put them down, you’ll feel breathless—a little sad it’s over, but ultimately full, invigorated, as if you’ve just ended an evening of deep, intimate conversation with your best friend. It takes a rare talent to pull this feat off—and Jen Sookfong Lee is that talent. I love this book.”—Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

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What listeners say about Superfan: How Pop Culture Broke My Heart

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Pop culture gold

The way that Jen weaves story telling and pop culture together is masterful!

Jen’s ability to tie together moments of pop culture with different milestones in her life in uncanny. Can’t recommend this book enough

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Perfect weaving of pop culture

Was wondering how she was going to weave pop culture references into her life story without being contrived. Jen does it seamlessly -- quite an accomplishment. Many different threads perfectly intertwined.

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