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Happy Birthday or Whatever: Track Suits, Kim Chee, and Other Family Disasters

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Happy Birthday or Whatever: Track Suits, Kim Chee, and Other Family Disasters Cover

ISBN13: 9780061132223
ISBN10: 0061132225
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Meet Annie Choi. She fears cable cars and refuses to eat anything that casts a shadow. Her brother thinks chicken is a vegetable. Her father occasionally starts fires at work. Her mother collects Jesus trading cards and wears plaid like it's a job. No matter how hard Annie and her family try to understand one another, they often come up hilariously short.

But in the midst of a family crisis, Annie comes to realize that the only way to survive one another is to stick together . . . as difficult as that might be. Annie Choi's Happy Birthday or Whatever is a sidesplitting, eye-opening, and transcendent tale of coping with an infuriating, demanding, but ultimately loving Korean family.

Review:

"Choi's volatile relationship with her domineering, chronically dissatisfied mother is at the heart of this memoir, a funny and often moving account of growing up in a family of Korean immigrants. The parent/child compact in Choi's childhood home was as follows: Mommy and Daddy's job is to take care of the child; the child's job is to study hard, go to Harvard and become a doctor. But Choi and her mother face each other across a seemingly unbridgeable divide: Annie has little desire to embody traditional Korean feminine virtues (and no desire to be a doctor); her mother — to whom social status is everything — cannot countenance her daughter's 'shortcomings.' Whether recounting the shame of bringing home a B-plus on a fourth-grade spelling test (a clear indicator that she's destined for an inferior institution) or the greater horror of having to wear Korean clothes to American school ('The fun of soup bring Spring' reads one pair of her tracksuit bottoms), Choi adds acid wit — mixed with compassion — to her descriptions of immigrant life in the San Fernando Valley. This is that rare book that delivers more than it promises; Choi tackles the theme of mother/daughter conflict with grace and humor." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Annie Choi was born and raised in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University, she lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shoshana, September 16, 2007 (view all comments by Shoshana)
There's nothing wrong with this book, which is a collection of aurobiographical stories about growing up as a first-generation Korean in the U.S. There also isn't much to make the book exceptional. With the emphasis on the family's purportedly hilarious yet incessant sniping and bickering, it is somewhat monotonous. Where Choi manages to bring some emotional complexity to the work, in recounting some of the events related to her mother's health, she is a pale imitation of Amy Tan, who told very much the same story but in a much more compelling manner in 1989's The Joy Luck Club. Choi is not a bad writer, but despite a certain gloss, she comes off as a young writer. Since she is young, perhaps her style will mature. She has the misfortune to have come of age in an era in which prematurely world-weary authors posture about what their 26 years on the planet have taught them.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061132223
Author:
Choi, Annie
Publisher:
Harper Paperbacks
Author:
by Annie Choi
Subject:
General
Subject:
Immigrants
Subject:
Korean Americans
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
California
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
20070431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.98x5.78x.63 in. .41 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Narrative
Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Young Adult » Nonfiction » Biographies

Happy Birthday or Whatever: Track Suits, Kim Chee, and Other Family Disasters New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Harper Paperbacks - English 9780061132223 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Choi's volatile relationship with her domineering, chronically dissatisfied mother is at the heart of this memoir, a funny and often moving account of growing up in a family of Korean immigrants. The parent/child compact in Choi's childhood home was as follows: Mommy and Daddy's job is to take care of the child; the child's job is to study hard, go to Harvard and become a doctor. But Choi and her mother face each other across a seemingly unbridgeable divide: Annie has little desire to embody traditional Korean feminine virtues (and no desire to be a doctor); her mother — to whom social status is everything — cannot countenance her daughter's 'shortcomings.' Whether recounting the shame of bringing home a B-plus on a fourth-grade spelling test (a clear indicator that she's destined for an inferior institution) or the greater horror of having to wear Korean clothes to American school ('The fun of soup bring Spring' reads one pair of her tracksuit bottoms), Choi adds acid wit — mixed with compassion — to her descriptions of immigrant life in the San Fernando Valley. This is that rare book that delivers more than it promises; Choi tackles the theme of mother/daughter conflict with grace and humor." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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