Eddie Huang Reveals Junot Diaz’s ‘Oscar Wao’ Was Huge Inspiration For New Memoir

Lead Photo: Photo by Kenneth Cappello
Photo by Kenneth Cappello
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When celebrity chef Eddie Huang wrote his 2013 Fresh Off the Boat memoir, his editor, Chris Jackson, asked him if he had read any of Junot Díaz’s work. Both Huang and Díaz are fans of sprinkling footnotes in their texts, but Jackson learned that Huang had never cracked one of Diaz’s books open before, according to The New York Times. That is, until he started writing his second memoir, titled Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China. He started reading Díaz’s masterpiece The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which tells the story of Dominican nerd Oscar.

After getting about 100 pages in, Huang had to stop himself from finishing Oscar Wao. “I didn’t want to steal his moves.” He actually got back to Junot’s book until he finished writing his own. Eventually, Oscar Wao played an important role in the editing process. “I was chasing him through the last eight revisions, asking myself, ‘Does this give you feelings on that level that Oscar Wao gave you?” he said. “I got as close as I could.”

Check out what else Huang had to tell the NYT about his new book here.