BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – In instances of darkness, when all appears hopeless and lackluster, South Korean writer Baek-Sehee’s thoughts usually conjures up numerous inquiries to encourage religion: What concerning the those who love you? What concerning the thousands and thousands of potentialities the place issues can get higher? And maybe most significantly, do not you wish to eat tteokbokki once more?
Korean writer Baek-Sehee has her complete life forward of her. She works as a profitable younger social media director at a publishing home the place her boss de ella appears to genuinely care about her. But, regardless of her loving pals and doting household, she finds herself at a loss. She feels depressed, consistently operating low, feeling anxious, and self-conscious. On the skin, she cultivates an ideal porcelain masks for her family members, who’re under no circumstances conscious of the agony she endures. To search out solutions, she decides to seek the advice of a psychiatrist. What’s incorrect along with her? Such turmoil cannot be regular, proper?
I wish to die however I wish to eat tteokbokki (2022) is Baek-Sehee’s phenomenal mix of memoir and self-help e-book that has rapidly grow to be a Korean bestseller, really helpful even by a BTS member. Korea is infamous for its blasé perspective in the direction of psychological well being significance and its extremely hectic work and social environments, a identified consider youth suicides. Baek-Sehee’s newest e-book needs to shed the protecting curtain over psychological well being points which have stigmatized this ongoing epidemic. Weaved seamlessly into English by translator Anton Hur, I wish to die however I wish to eat tteokbokki is each inspiring and eye-opening as we step into the thoughts of a tormented particular person who we can’t assist however relate to.
Dwelling and dealing in Korea myself, presumably essentially the most comforting Korean snack one can take pleasure in at any hour of the day is the chewy, generally spicy rice truffles known as tteokbokki. In her lowest moments of her, Baek reaches for a plateful of this acquainted consolation which in flip wraps her abdomen in a heat, nostalgic hug, tempting her to remain on this Earth a short while longer.
Baek is rapidly identified with a persistent case of melancholy, additionally known as dysthymia, by her psychiatrist. Baek describes her situation de ella as feeling “hole,” a world in a everlasting state of blue-hour the place she feels “obsessive fear” over how others understand her actions and look de ella. Baek information her twelve-week periods along with her psychiatrist to fight her “reminiscence block,” which might occur in instances of stress and excessive depth. Afterward, Baek pursues a decade of remedy to grapple along with her psychological well being. In her time of reflection, she determined to compile the recordings for her e-book of her in an effort to achieve out to an viewers that will want it.
Meals brings Baek quite a lot of pleasure – that is one thing we are able to all relate to. Nevertheless, being a younger South Korean lady entrenched in a extremely gendered and looks-driven society, she feels responsible about her coping mechanism. Baek recounts her struggles with disordered consuming and binge-eating dysfunction. Her ideas of her spiraling uncontrolled, unraveling in a darkish, twisted mess earlier than her psychiatrist: “They hate me. I am hiding.”
Baek, to a point, is conscious of how social media and trendy society play into her already fragile self-image, placing stress on the already-there cracks and fissures. Baek explains, “I wish to love my very own face, however I like different faces a lot that I am unable to look fairly to myself.” The simplification of human beings is maybe some of the heinous signs of widespread social media utilization. We aren’t merely ugly or stunning – it is by no means that straightforward. Subtly, the psychiatrist touches on this phantasm when explaining that “the folks whose faces you want are in all probability stunning, and the faces you do not like will be stunning, too.”
Baek’s priceless writing helps normalize anxieties and stresses. This highly effective e-book is Baek’s catharsis, a pouring out of her coronary heart and thoughts onto pages that remind the reader that we’re not broken or fatally flawed in any respect. Feeling imperfect and depressed is part of the impossibly advanced cloth of the human expertise.
Baek’s story doesn’t finish with a “remedy.” She doesn’t end this story by claiming she had been erased of her melancholy and nervousness. She discovers that there isn’t any “remedy,” no god capsule, or mind-mastering psychiatrist who “fixes” her. Ultimately, she merely continues on an ever-evolving journey of self-love and private development. Maybe the best message of this e-book is to hunt others in our time of want, to replicate on our ache and struggling, and to seek out consolation within the easiest pleasures like sticky, fried rice truffles.
LMU English main graduate Ella Kelleher is the AMI e-book evaluate editor-in-chief and a contributing workers author for Asia Media Worldwide. She majored in English with a focus in multi-ethnic literature.