Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

One World. Feb. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9781984820365. $27. BIOG
Poet and essayist Hong’s family history beautifully details how her life and art have been shaped by her Korean American identity. Among the many topics the author explores are the violent history of Korea and how that heritage has impacted generations of her family, her discomfort and confusion navigating her race as a child in the Los Angeles area, and how race affected friendships and mental health throughout her life. She also dissects popular culture, from Richard Pryor’s stand-up to the artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Every page is packed with details and reflections on the myriad ways that Americans’ lives are shaped by race. The author has a particular talent for bringing a moment to life, inviting readers to confront the raw emotions of a given scene. She does not shy away from complication or bluntness, but presents her truth with all its complexity.
VERDICT An extraordinary blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and history that will invite readers from all backgrounds, though especially those who identify as Asian American, to consider the complex relationships between race, family, heritage, and society that shape American lives.
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