The stories in Her Wild American Self focus on Filipina Americans—recent immigrants or first generation—and explore what it is to be American and female. Each character struggles with careers, motherhood, sisterhood, and roles within family and society, including the stereotype of the subservient Asian American woman. Neither fully accepting nor rejecting their Eastern and Western traditions, the characters in this collection attempt to come to terms with their bicultural upbringing. Ranging from the title story about a teenager who comes of age and falls from grace all in one tumultuous season, to a story about an artist who finds her medium and leaves her lover, to a story such as the one about a forty-two year old who realizes she has succeeded in establishing herself as her own woman, Her Wild American Self contains a rich and engaging mosaic of stories about contemporary Filipina American women.
1998 Asian American Institute Milestone Maker Award Winner
“Stirring debut collection of stories. . . . All are told in an elegant, mesmerizing style. . . . The brief, chantlike monologues that frame the collection are as lyrical as prayers.” —The New York Times Book Review
“An honest and insightful look at the experiences of Filipina American women who ‘grew up hearing two languages.’ . . . A meaningful contribution to the growing chorus of Asian American voices.” —Ms. Magazine
“Through these richly drawn women, we experience what it might mean to be a Filipina-American woman. . . . [Galang] shows us how we might find in art, dance, play, family, friendship, or community that which can save us from our cultural scripts.” —The Review of Contemporary Fiction
“Accessible to readers of all ethnicities. Her tales of coming-of-age while coping with cross-cultural clashes as well as the pitfalls of assimilation are embodied in the history of many American races. . . . [Her Wild American Self] reminds us, indeed, that to be true to one’s self can be our greatest achievement.” —Forkroads
“These stories are full of the stuff that make American-born-something meaningful.” —Pacific Reader