by David Yoon
“White people can describe themselves with just American. Only when pressed do they go into their ethnic heritage. Doesn’t seem fair that I have to forever explain my origin story with that silent hyphen, whereas white people don’t. It’s complicated. But simple. Simplicated.”
This was a pretty good story of a Korean High School senior dealing with first love and conflicts with his family’s culture. He is an extremely intelligent quintessential nerd as are all his friends and the two girls he becomes involved with. His “Mom’n dad” have never fully integrated into American society and as a result, are insular, racist, and an embarrassment to him in many ways. They cut off his successful older sister, Hannah, when she married a black guy. It did bother me that they can barely speak English. Yet he loves and accepts them because he really does not have a choice. I assume they are paying for the very expensive and elite university it is assumed he will be going to.
I picked this up for the romance but stayed to see how the family conflicts and problems were going to be resolved. The romantic dilemmas turned out to be a bit of a bore, but family dynamics were enlightening as were the insights into Korean American society. Ultimately, I was very moved by how it all turned out. Well worth the read.
September 19, 2019