American Seoul By Helena Rho

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American Seoul: A Memoir By Helena Rho

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Book/Novel Author: Helena Rho

Book/Novel Title: American Seoul

 

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Summary

She was everything everyone else wanted her to be. Until she followed her own path.Helena Rho was six years old when her family left Seoul, Korea, for America and its opportunities. Years later, her Korean-ness behind her, Helena had everything a model minority was supposed to want: she was married to a white American doctor and had a beautiful home, two children, and a career as an assistant professor of pediatrics. For decades she fulfilled the expectations of others. All the while Helena kept silent about the traumas—both professional and personal—that left her anxious yet determined to escape. It would take a catastrophic event for Helena to abandon her career at the age of forty, recover her Korean identity, and set in motion a journey of self-discovery.In her powerful and moving memoir, Helena Rho reveals the courage it took to break away from the path that was laid out for her, to assert her presence, and to discover the freedom and joy of finally being herself.

Korean expat, Helen, has met her parents’ goal of being a pediatrician. But Helen slowly realizes she doesn’t know herself and is carrying tremendous grief, generational and traumatic grief, that she must shed before she can be her true self. A book of loss and discovery, about choices and change.
I thought this was a wonderfully written memoir. Culturally out of tune from both her Korean birth and as an American woman in the male dominated field of medicine. I am so glad that she found her voice and was able to connect to her family and culture in Korea. That she was able to be strong enough to follow her heart in the field of writing showed such strength. Although sad at times ,and what isn’t?, it was inspiring to read.
Beautiful and honest retelling of family stories; with heartbreak, triumphs, relationships and healing. Themes include 3rd culture experiences as a Korean American, domestic violence, failed suicide attempt, generational trauma.
I chose the book to give me some cultural diversity. Instead I only heard a whiny American albeit a Korean one. There was nothing in this book or its writing that would induce me to read another book by this author.
Reading this biography presents readers a sense of awareness to understand culture shock. Content recommended for teens and older readers to vicariously experience the stresses,strains and insights of immigrants to their non-native countries.

 

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