A Malala's Book Club pick!
In this electric debut essay collection, a Myanmar millennial playfully challenges us to examine the knots and complications of immigration status, eating habits, Western feminism in an Asian home, and more, guiding us toward an expansive idea of what it means to be a Myanmar woman today.
What does it mean to be a Myanmar person—a baker, swimmer, writer and woman—on your own terms rather than those of the colonizer? These irreverent yet vulnerable essays ask that question by tracing 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.
In You’ve Changed, Pyae takes on romantic relationships whose futures are determined by different passports, switching accents in American taxis, the patriarchal Myanmar concept of hpone which governs how laundry is done, swimming as refuge from mental illness, pleasure and shame around eating rice, and baking in a kitchen far from white America’s imagination.
Throughout, she wrestles with the question of who she is—a Myanmar woman in the West, a Western-educated person in Yangon, a writer who refuses to be labeled a “race writer.” With intimate and funny prose, Pyae shows how the truth of identity may be found not in stability, but in its gloriously unsettled nature.
Praise for YOU'VE CHANGED
"A fresh and insightful debut." —Nadia Owusu, The New York Times Book Review
"Readers are gifted a funny, insightful, and beautifully written collection of essays . . . A must for your bookshelf . . . Incisive and exciting." —Sarah Neilson, Shondaland
"Perfect for fans of the podcast Armchair Expert and the Netflix show Never Have I Ever . . . You've Changed is a portrait of someone who is mostly unapologetically—though sometimes mildly apologetically—herself . . . There should be way more books by relatable people who describe themselves as 'pretty average,' and who celebrate 'fluff,' but who don't shy away from heavy topics—and Pyae Moe Thet War does just that." —Robyn Smith, Bust
"Decisive and deft . . . Reading You’ve Changed is akin to conversing late into the night with an intelligent friend." —Jisu Kim, LIBER: A Feminist Review
"Bracingly honest, irreverent . . . A bold renovation and essential contribution to the tradition of Asian writers with ties to the West examining their fractured identities within racialized societies through essay collections of memoir and cultural analysis, including Jay Caspian Kang’s The Loneliest Americans and Xiaolu Guo’s A Lover’s Discourse . . . These roving essays capture the complexities of identity formation by evoking the process of self-definition in all its precariousness, despair, and joy." —Darren Huang, Full Stop
"The essays in Pyae Moe Thet War’s debut collection are engaging, spirited, and fast-paced accounts of what it means to be a Myanmar woman today—both inside and outside her country’s borders. Resisting easy categorization and drawing us into the author’s multiple worlds and lives, You’ve Changed candidly explores the many ways we navigate identity in a world whose mainstream culture is dominated by the West."—Richa Kaul Padte, Hazlitt
"One of the definite essay collections for millennial immigrants . . . Explores complex viewpoints and shifts how we can think about, and discuss, immigration in our current world." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful
"Sharp as a spade . . . You’ve Changed ultimately strikes gold with its unique blend of humor and vulnerability . . . War’s memoir shook me to my core . . . No reader would be able to flatten this memoir down to just one dimension of Pyae Moe Thet War’s identity—the richness of intersectionality is built into the DNA of the piece. Representation matters, and You’ve Changed is a testament to that." —Rachel Donalson, Porter House Review
"Picking up this book feels like a great laugh and a giant hug from a big sister I’ve never had." —Bonnie Chow, The Cosmos Book Club
"Once the 'lone mythical Myanmar unicorn in every writing space I attended,' [War] claims her own expanse in this vivacious debut nonfiction collection showcasing wise-beyond-her-years insight (she’s 25 in her first essay), biting impatience, and plenty of unfiltered humor . . . Illuminating, entertaining essays about coming of age between languages, cultures, and born-into and chosen families." —Booklist (starred review)
"Thought-provoking, poignant, and a delight to read . . . A refreshingly honest, original exploration of personal identity." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In this arresting debut, War reflects on her dual lives spent in the U.S. and Myanmar to cleverly explore notions of home and identity . . . Intoxicating." —Publishers Weekly
“This book was a joy to read. Bracing, heartfelt, and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Pyae Moe Thet War considers the complexities of migration, belonging, and what it means to love in a debut that is as refreshing as it is welcoming. I can't wait to read more from this wonderful writer.” —Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
“Reading You've Changed is like staying up all night with a new friend, swapping stories over a take-out container of fried rice. I was charmed by Pyae Moe Thet War's voice, at turns vulnerable, self-deprecating, and always humorous, and by her thoughtful exploration of the liminal space in which her multitude of identities—Myanmar, woman, feminist, writer—reside.” —Larissa Pham, author of Pop Song
"You've Changed is an inviting work by a debut author whose voice flexes its skill across different terrains of living and being. Pyae Moe Thet War meditates and grapples with identity as it relates to migration, Western assimilation, and intergenerational expectations—a fine book from a severely underrepresented voice in the world of arts and letters. I hope this work leaves the door open for other Myanmar writers." —Morgan Jerkins, author of Caul Baby