I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki: A Memoir

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National Indie Bestseller
World Literature Today Notable Translation of the Year
Salon Favorite Book of the Year

The South Korean runaway bestseller, an intimate therapy memoir translated by International Booker Prize shortlisted Anton Hur.

PSYCHIATRIST: So how can I help you?

ME: I don't know, I'm - what's the word - depressed? Do I have to go into detail?

Baek Sehee is a successful young social media director at a publishing house when she begins seeing a psychiatrist about her - what to call it? - depression? She feels persistently low, anxious, endlessly self-doubting, but also highly judgmental of others. She hides her feelings well at work and with friends, performing the calmness her lifestyle demands. The effort is exhausting, overwhelming, and keeps her from forming deep relationships. This can't be normal. But if she's so hopeless, why can she always summon a desire for her favorite street food: the hot, spicy rice cake, tteokbokki? Is this just what life is like?

Recording her dialogues with her psychiatrist over a twelve-week period, and expanding on each session with her own reflective micro-essays, Baek begins to disentangle the feedback loops, knee-jerk reactions, and harmful behaviors that keep her locked in a cycle of self-abuse. Part memoir, part self-help book, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki is a book to keep close and to reach for in times of darkness. It will appeal to anyone who has ever felt alone or unjustified in their everyday despair.

Author: Baek Sehee
Binding Type: Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: 11/01/2022
Pages: 208
Weight: 0.77lbs
Size: 8.50h x 5.82w x 0.81d
ISBN: 9781635579383

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 06/01/2022 pg. 11
Publishers Weekly 07/04/2022
Kirkus Reviews 07/01/2022
Library Journal 08/01/2022 pg. 106
Booklist 10/01/2022 pg. 3
Shelf Awareness 12/09/2022

About the Author

Born in 1990, Baek Sehee studied creative writing in college before working for five years at a publishing house. For ten years, she received psychiatric treatment for dysthymia (persistent mild depression), which became the subject of her essays, and then I Want to Die, but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki. Her favorite food is tteokbokki, and she lives with her rescue dog, Jaram.

Anton Hur was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the winner of a PEN Translates grant and a PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant, among many others, and his translations include Kyung-Sook Shin's Violets, Bora Chung's Cursed Bunny, and Sang Young Park's Love in the Big City.