Larry Smith really wants to hear about why you or your ancestors came to America. He just doesn’t want to hear it for too long.
In his latest book, Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America, Smith explores the American immigration experience by collecting very concise personal accounts.
The crowd-sourced book is a collaboration between Smith’s Six-Word Memoir Project and Fresh Off the Boat, the ABC sitcom about a Taiwanese-American family adjusting to life in Orlando in the 1990s.
Perfect for short millennial attention spans, each contribution is told as a Twitter-ready “six-word memoir,” including some from immigrants whose LGBT identity forced them to seek refuge in the U.S.
“I migrated to live openly gay,” writes XinFeng Lin, summing up her journey in, yes, just six words.
The book also includes mini-memoirs about immigration from celebrities such as Aziz Ansari, Mila Kunis, Regina Spektor, Julianne Moore, Arianna Huffington, Mario Batali, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Madeleine Albright, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Gay actor and activist George Takei, best known for playing Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series, lived in a Japanese internment camp as a child during WWII. His six-word memoir is as follows: “Even after internment, still love America.”
“Old sod to New World tale,” writes out Hollywood Game Night host Jane Lynch, referring to her Irish heritage.
Smith’s Six Words Fresh Off the Boat, which features a foreword by Fresh Off the Boat showrunner Nahnatchka Khan and executive producer Melvin Mar, is available September 5.
Fun fact: Smith is married to Orange Is the New Black author Piper Kerman and inspired Jason Biggs’ character on the Netflix series.