Monday, May 12, 2014

On Tour: Unwell by Marie Chow, Voices, and a Giveaway!


Unwell by Marie Chow
Paperback and Kindle, 258 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Career Student Productions, LLC

How do you tell your child that you won’t be there when they grow up? UNWELL is the raw, honest story of a mother who writes to her unborn child, sharing her decision of choosing not to be a mother. She doesn't choose abortion. Nor does she consider adoption. Instead, she decides to give her child a fighting chance in life, without the angst and drama that’s shaped her own bittersweet life. 

With a poignant lack of emotion, the young mother shares her life story. As the child of Asian parents who moved to America early in her life, the mother shares how her life disintegrated after her parents’ divorce. From upper middle class suburban to sharing her mean aunt’s house to a one bedroom apartment in a shabby neighborhood, this mother endures the indignity that comes with the change of status. From her father’s absence to her mother becoming a married man’s mistress, her story reads like a tragic Victorian novel set in the 21st century, but that’s where the similarity ends—she is definitely not a shy country miss and she certainly did not take the easy way out. 

This amazing story chronicles the life of a woman who fought for everything she got, faced her demons and made the hard choices. Her fortitude and candor are disarming, her avant-garde views strangely endearing. You've never read a book like this and probably never will again. Get your copy today and take the literary journey of a lifetime. Through this glimpse into the life of a woman of integrity, sacrifice and love, you’ll feel her pain, live her failures and cheer for the meager joys that come her way. But the one thing you’ll never do… is forget her. Or her story.

My thoughts about Unwell ~~ 

The synopsis says 'You've never read a book like this and probably never will again.' That is so true. As I was reading this book and getting ready to write my thoughts, that was exactly what I was thinking. 

The reader starts the story knowing that the mother-to-be will not be around to be a part of her child's life. Unwell is written as a journal penned by a woman to her unborn child, telling that child about her life as a child, student, woman, lover, wife, and soon-to-be mother. 

She endures a hard life after her parents divorce when she is young. She and her mother struggle to get by but in spite of all the hardships, she does get into a good school and is a strong person. 
'My mother often said to me, in the years that followed, that I cared too much about money and that it wasn't healthy to be so mercenary. And though I never said this to her directly, I've always thought: well, one of us had to be.'
This was a story that kept me enthralled for several reasons. First, I had to keep reading to find out why this women from the start knew she would not be around to raise her child. How can a mother think like that? And then there was the tough life that she led. I kept reading because her life was so interesting, both the good and the bad, that I just had to make sure she was going to be okay. 

Like I said above, this story was really unlike anything that I have read in the past. And that's what made it a great read. It was sometimes sobering, but at the same time refreshing, because of the uniqueness of it. 


Welcome to The Book Bag, Marie! I have a question I like to ask authors and I love hearing their responses. Thanks for giving us your thoughts on my 'voices' questions.

I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

The Voices in My Head 
Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m one of those people who hears voices. 
My husband jokes about it. He says that there are a group of Marie Chows living inside my brain, and that sometimes, the happy ones come out to play, while other times, the manic, the sad, or the illogical ones are ruling by fiat. 
I always counter that he’s lucky – it’s like he's dating multiple people, all in one body. 
But, beyond the many versions of “me” that inhabit my brain, there are also various characters, in different books, waiting to be written, asking to be heard. The problem I often have is: I can’t always tell which character belongs in which story. They’re an eclectic bunch, and often, it feels as though they’re all vying for my attention. 
Some of them are vagrants, they come briefly, and if I haven’t treated them appropriately, if I haven’t paid them enough attention, they move on, and I never find them again. 
Others are quite demanding, perfectionists who want their stories told. I have one particular story I’ve tried to write for five years now (a short story actually). I’ve rewritten it at least three times – I’ve changed narrative perspective, tense, focal point/climax, and rotated out the supporting cast, yet still, it hasn’t come together. I’ve tried evicting this particular tenant, but she refuses. She’s clearly staying until I get it right. 
I don’t actually mind that part though. Writing is as much about persistence and perseverance as talent (I have to tell myself that, as a beginning writer, I know there’s an ever-present gap between where I am and where I’d like to be). It’s the voices I lose that worry me: what if that was the story (the way young girls believe in the one). 
For now, I’m content that there are many of them, and that I've been given the opportunity to capture and articulate each of them.
Thanks so much for sharing this insight into your 'voices.' I can't wait to see which one speaks the loudest next and gets their story told.

About the author

Marie is a former teacher, education evaluator, and engineer. A lifelong student, she has degrees in degrees in chemical engineering, teaching, an MFA in writing, and a doctorate in educational leadership. Her writing focuses on bilingual and English-only children's books that feature mixed families, as well as literary and contemporary fiction focused on Asian and Asian American characters.

Connect with Marie

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!


  1. thanks for kicking off the tour!

  2. This looks like such a good book!

  3. It sounds really good, and I like the cover. Will be adding it to my list. Thanks for having the giveaway.


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