I Want To Die but I Want To Eat Tteokbokki: A Memoir

Bloomsbury. Nov. 2022. 208p. tr. from Korean by Anton Hur. ISBN 9781635579383. $24. MEMOIR
Sehee, a successful professional in the publishing industry, grew up in Korea with an abusive father and a hypercritical mother. Internalizing their behavior, she questioned and criticized herself to the point of depression and severe anxiety. The depression is disruptive but not so debilitating that she does not still want her favorite foods, such as tteokbokki, a spicy rice cake popular in Korean cuisine. After initiating therapy with a psychiatrist, the author began to record her sessions, and the bulk of this book consists of transcriptions of their discussions about her depression and pervasive self-criticism. Sehee is honest and authentic throughout, beginning each chapter with a brief essay that introduces a topic she wants to discuss with the psychiatrist and concluding with an essay reflecting on what she learned from the session. Chapters address topics such as honesty, self-surveillance, self-esteem, medication, physical attractiveness, and more.
VERDICT This is a sincere attempt at self-discovery that will resonate with young people who suffer from similar forms of depression and anxiety.
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