Inside scoop on gossip queen Elaine Lui: Blogger gets personal in new book
Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:06AM EDT
After years of gabbing about some of Hollywood's favourite celebrities, gossip maven Elaine Lui has turned the spotlight on herself, penning a book about the star in her own life: her mother.
In her new book, "Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What's a Daughter to Do? A Memoir (Sort Of)" (Random House), Lui recounts tales from her childhood and what it was like to be raised by a tough mother.
"Using shame in certain specific situations was a part of her parenting (method)," Lui told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday.
Lui, who is a co-host on CTV's The Social, has built an empire out of the ups and downs of celebrities. In addition to serving up juicy tidbits of gossip on her popular blog Lainey Gossip, she is also an entertainment reporter on CTV's eTalk. She credits a part of her success to her mother, who often employed embarrassment and shaming in equal measures to raise her.
"I wrote this book as a tribute to her, and to honour her," Lui said.
Her mother's no-nonsense, tough love approach to parenting gave birth to her book-baby. Lui said the "squawking chicken" is her mother's nickname, which was given to her when she was growing up in Hong Kong.
"My mother has this voice that is so distinctive. It sort of embeds itself into your brain, your soul," Lui said. "You want to get out of the way when she’s squawking at you."
Lui never had that luxury, however. As an only child, the Toronto-born television personality said she was often the "target" of her mother’s squawking.
In her memoir, Lui talks about some of the heartwarming and embarrassing mother-daughter exchanges from her teen years, including a cringe-worthy shopping trip to buy a bra. She also delves into some of her more stinging memories.
"(It was an) all-out assault," Lui wrote in her book about her mother's sharp tongue. She said her mother would often shame her to set her straight whenever she acted out. Lui said her mother wanted to spare her from the hardship she had to endure as a young woman.
"(She shamed me) to remind me that if you don't stop this kind of behaviour, then you’re going to feel shame that’s much, much worse. And it's not going to be me that’s shaming you, it's going to be people who don’t love you," she said Wednesday.
Lui's mother was forced to quit school at the age of 15 to help support her family. She worked in a restaurant while her unemployed parents played mah-jong all night. One day, while walking home from work, Lui said her mother was raped. She received no support or sympathy from her parents.
In an April 1 blog post, Lui explains that the release date of her new book is partly a tribute to her parents.
"For me, April 1 has always been the most important day of my life. My parents were married on April 1….So when Random House Canada offered me the privilege of choosing any day in April as the official release day of my book…it had to be today."
Lui’s book was published by Random House of Canada.