1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

An immigrant mother’s long-held secrets upend her daughter’s understanding of her family, her identity, and her place in the world in this powerful and dramatic memoir

“Riveting. . . . [Wong] tells her story in vivid conversational prose that will make readers feel they’re listening to a master storyteller on a long car trip. . . . Hers is a hero’s journey.”—The New York Times Book Review

My mother carried a powerful secret. A secret that shaped my life and the lives of everyone around me in ways she could not have imagined.

Carmen Rita Wong has always craved a sense of belonging: First as a toddler in a warm room full of Black and brown Latina women, like her mother, Lupe, cheering her dancing during her childhood in Harlem. And in Chinatown, where her immigrant father, “Papi” Wong, a hustler, would show her and her older brother off in opulent restaurants decorated in red and gold. Then came the almost exclusively white playgrounds of New Hampshire after her mother married her stepfather, Marty, who seemed to be the ideal of the white American dad.

As Carmen entered this new world with her new family—Lupe and Marty quickly had four more children—her relationship with her mother became fraught with tension, suspicion, and conflict, explained only years later by the secrets her mother had kept for so long.

And when those secrets were revealed, bringing clarity to so much of Carmen’s life, it was too late for answers. When her mother passed away, Carmen wanted to shake her  soul by its shoulders and demand: Why didn’t you tell me?

A former national television host, advice columnist, and professor, Carmen searches to understand who she really is as she discovers her mother’s hidden history, facing the revelations that seep out. Why Didn’t You Tell Me? is a riveting and poignant story of Carmen’s experience of race and culture in America and how they shape who we think we are.

©2022 Carmen Rita Wong (P)2022 Random House Audio

Interview: Carmen Rita Wong and Her Search for the Whole Truth

'I do feel like I have been writing this book in my head for decades.'
-0.00
  • Why Didn't You Tell Me?
  • 'I do feel like I have been writing this book in my head for decades.'

What listeners say about Why Didn't You Tell Me?

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    143
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    141
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    121
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting, heartbreaking and epic!

I didn’t want this book to end! There were many times I had my audible on speaker and my husband would catch parts of a chapter here and there. He was totally invested in learning about what happened next, and I didn’t hesitate to share. Having lost for my first husband to cancer, and never really knowing who my father was - I rode the waves of emotions listening to this epic story of surrendering, forgiveness, perseverance and triumph.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

mind blowing story

this book pushed my mind back into the insane history of the trainwreck known as my family. I have always kidded that when you look up disfunctional in webster's you would find a photo of my family. Happy to share the definition with you. thank you for the book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thank you…

As a person with a very complicated family “history” , this was so refreshing. I was in tears through part of and had to pause a couple of times. Your willingness to lean into the mess of life was so uplifting. So again, thank you!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Story of exploration

What an amazing story of exploration. And I loved hearing the emotion from Carmen's voice. It just made me connect and visualize the story even more while listening to it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

It’s Complicated

A gripping tale of the author’s challenges of living in a family of mixed races and cultures, and her quest to find her own identity. There are secrets, and the secrets have secrets!
Read by the author with passion, humor, anger, and grief. 5 stars on every level!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Grab a box of Tissues

The author is such a great story teller. It felt I was having a cafecito with an old friend, bonding over family trauma, our own trauma and struggles to find our identity. It’s inspiring, heartbreaking and I cried at the end. Do yourself a solid and pick it up and get ready to dive in. Grab a cafecito and don’t forget a box of tissues.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Why didn’t they tell me this was such a negative listen?

The writer strikes me as very intelligent and articulate. I felt the reader was irritable and angry throughout and wondered why she was selected for this performance then noticed the reader was the author! This book is interesting and somewhat enlightening, but I have three hours left and am tempted to listen to something else. It is continually expressing anger and frustration without any personal growth being articulated- Just perpetual blame, victimization and some entitlement. I may persevere, to see if anything worthwhile comes from this, but I am going to have to do it in small doses.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

And intriguing family story

Since I was a child I’ve always been interested in family history, where My ancestors came from, What was it like to live in the past for my family. That meant I always enjoyed spending time with the older members my family and listening to their stories which is not common for a young person. At the center of Carmen Rita Wong‘s family was a big secret that remained hidden for most of her life. However, solving that family mystery only comes in at the end and does make for a very engrossing conclusion to the book now that you’ve gotten to know her and her family so well. She uses DNA testing to help solve a mystery but it isn’t the DNA testing that lets her know that there is a mystery to be solved. It just reveals there are more layers to the mystery that she expected. Most of the book is the story of a young girl trying to find her place both in the world and in her family. It gives the reader a great insight into what it is to be the only non-white person in school and in her community. From an early age Carmen is forced to become the substitute mother for her younger siblings and develops a very strong bond with her older brother due to the fact that her mother has some serious mental health issues and can at times be abusive. Carmen‘s strength comes through in her memoir and how she survives so much loss and shocking revelations is impressive. Frequently it is a bad idea for a writer to read their own book but in this case hearing her story in her own voice really works well plus she can do accents really well

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it! Intriguing, and relatable as a fellow Latina

From beginning to end, I was hooked. The narration, the story, the ups and downs, mystery, and strengths of Carmen. She captured the complexity of being Latina on the US, looking for where she fit in and managing family relationships.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally we can be out in the open about our family history

This story could have been mine except the island was in Polynesia and NZ was the America. Captivating. Tear jerking - due to my own unexpressed family secrets & child self for holding them. Also spoke to the resiliency of human spirit & connectivity of groups of people. Thank you for sharing so that I can be braver about my own family stories and secrets 💫