I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Se-hee (Book Review)

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Bloomsbury UK
Page Count
: 209
Translator: Anton Hur
Release Date: June 20, 2018

CW: depression, mental health issues, body shaming

When I saw this book – a very colorful hardcover with a quirky illustration – in the store, I thought it sounded like it could potentially be heavy, but I also knew I had to have it. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I regret buying this book, but I do think that the cover led me astray a little bit.

Let me start by saying that this is non-fiction. Everything in book is either a transcript from a therapy session the author had or a summary of their thoughts on certain themes. I understand that this is deeply personal and don’t feel like I can judge the content all that well. However, there were a few components that I struggled with and that I would like to convey to you:

  • I’m not sure if it’s the English translation or because the content was shortened, but the conversations between the author and her therapist felt incredibly stilted. I couldn’t imagine people actually talking like this in sessions, making fairly big generalizations and barely ever digging deep.
  • Speaking of the therapist – they gave a diagnosis after like three sentences exchanged and I didn’t find that particularly professional. I, personally, consider it a bit of a red flag when someone tries to diagnose you after not even a whole session – and does so with certainty and authority – but again, I’m not sure how much of the actual conversations was cut.
  • The book was marketed as part memoir and part self-help-book and I don’t really think it was either. Again, I want to point out that this was a very personal book, I’m sure, and that there might be some cultural differences that I don’t fully understand, but it all just felt a bit … adrift. There was no real direction and I didn’t feel like the author received actual guidance or coping mechanisms that could potentially help them or others.

As someone who can understand anxiety and wanting to please people etc. I thought that I would find this book more relatable, but only parts of it really resonated with me. I can still see it benefiting others, but it wasn’t a good fit for me. If this helped you and you feel comfortable talking about it, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Unfortunately, not a hit with me.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? What is a non-fiction book you’ve picked up lately?