My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store

My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience StoreThis Sweet And Funny Tale Of A Preppy Editor Buying A Brooklyn Deli With His Korean In Laws Is About Family, Culture Clash, And The Quest For Authentic Experiences It Starts With A Gift When Ben Ryder Howe S Wife, The Daughter Of Korean Immigrants, Decides To Repay Her Parents Self Sacrifice By Buying Them A Store, Howe, An Editor At The Rarefied Paris Review, Agrees To Go Along Things Soon Become A Lot Complicated After The Business Struggles, Howe Finds Himself Living In The Basement Of His In Laws Staten Island Home, Commuting To The Paris Review Offices In George Plimpton S Upper East Side Townhouse By Day, And Heading To Brooklyn To Slice Cold Cuts And Peddle Lottery Tickets By Night My Korean Deli Follows The Store S Tumultuous Life Span, And Along The Way Paints The Portrait Of An Extremely Unlikely Partnership Between Characters With Shoots Across Society, From The Brooklyn Streets To Seoul To Puritan New England Owning The Deli Becomes A Transformative Experience For Everyone Involved As They Struggle To Salvage The Original Gift And The Family While Sorting Out Issues Of Values, Work, And Identity My Korean Deli is a self absorbed, egotistical piece of literary sh t This carelessly thrown together selective memoir is not at all deserving of the attention it garnered over a year ago Howe s condescending narrative almost makes you want the business to fail view spoiler which it does in less than two years hide spoiler The author comes across as a whiny, over privileged, uninspired yuppie slaving away at a cushy magazine editing job while moonlighting as an incompetent convenienc My Korean Deli is a self absorbed, egotistical piece of literary sh t This carelessly thrown together selective memoir is not at all deserving of the attention it garnered over a year ago Howe s condescending narrative almost makes you want the business to fail view spoiler which it does in less than two years hide spoiler The author comes across as a whiny, over privileged, uninspired yuppie slaving away at a cushy magazine editing job while moonlighting as an incompetent convenience store owner There s nothing Korean about the deli other than his wife and mother in law It s a run of the mill convenience store in Brooklyn selling typical convenience store products like beer and potato chips There s little insight into Korean business practices or even his wife s family s culture other than Rowe s consistent petty judgmental reminder of his mother in law s imperfect English and stubborn work ethic As Rowe even points out in the epilogue, it almost seems like he bought the store just so he could write a book about it later you know, the time he was slumming it I wasted my time on this garbage of a book Don t make the same mistake I did Ben Ryder Howe s My Korean Deli is about as New York centric, East coast focused as a book can be I live in Wisconsin Even though I grew up in Chicago, this whole shopping at local delis that sound like convenience stores culture feels alien Why don t people in New York City shop at supermarkets Do supermarkets not exist in New York City I m sure someone will correct my ignorance Are these Korean delis like, I don t know, 7 11 or whatever They kind of sound like 7 11 or a fancy gas stat Ben Ryder Howe s My Korean Deli is about as New York centric, East coast focused as a book can be I live in Wisconsin Even though I grew up in Chicago, this whole shopping at local delis that sound like convenience stores culture feels alien Why don t people in New York City shop at supermarkets Do supermarkets not exist in New York City I m sure someone will correct my ignorance Are these Korean delis like, I don t know, 7 11 or whatever They kind of sound like 7 11 or a fancy gas station convenience store without the gas I don t know I guess it s not important, really The book isof a AJ Jacobs who gives a back cover blurb esque let s be whacky and intelligent but placed in cutesy sentence generating scenarios book Although Howe enters the business voluntarily, he walks the line between a stunt experience like that guy who ate at McDonalds for a month and authenticity.Do I sound cynical Sorry Howe Ryder Howe writes well He smoothly intertwines his three different worlds First, he s an editor for the Paris Review, replete with stories of George Plimpton in his underwear Second, he lives in his wife s parents basement on Staten Island Third, he s a clerk at the Korean deli he and his and wife buy with his parents Howe does a solid job describing his hours at the counter I d worry about fucking up the cash register, too, while customers waited in a long line I d both get bored and feel moments of connection with customers through small, courteous interaction The crazy customers would piss me off and leave me feeling powerless But, again, this Korean deli is outside my background and elements of the setting were beyond my understanding Apparently people justhang outin Korean delis Watch tv Stand in the aisles The clerks at the convenience stores around here would call the cops after maybe ten minutes of a customer s lurking in the aisles So I approached this bookfrom an outsider s perspective than someone who grasped the setting intrinsically That s ok The tension that emerged between the author and his wife s mom was compelling and their shared sojourns to weird, faceless wholesalers fascinating Howe is out of his element, aware of his shortcomings e.g he s good at editing stories but screws up stocking shelves , but willing to keep his mind and eyes open I can t say this book has a pressing reason to exist It slike a long, well written magazine article than book worthy Three stars, light, read My Korean Deli on a plane or bus, but don t expect your world to rock If this book had been fiction, it would have been way, way over the top I mean, what the heck were these people thinking, abandoning prestigious white collar jobs to buy a convenience store in a semi sketchy neighborhood in downtown Brooklyn with absolutely no experience Having finished the book I m still not sure, despite some vague explanation about a weird expression of gratitude from Ben s wife to her Korean parents So you ve got this bizarre and highly unlikely situation, starring the au If this book had been fiction, it would have been way, way over the top I mean, what the heck were these people thinking, abandoning prestigious white collar jobs to buy a convenience store in a semi sketchy neighborhood in downtown Brooklyn with absolutely no experience Having finished the book I m still not sure, despite some vague explanation about a weird expression of gratitude from Ben s wife to her Korean parents So you ve got this bizarre and highly unlikely situation, starring the author as a Jess Walter esque hapless protagonist in a business situation that s way too complex for him to handle, plus the indomitable character of Ben s Korean mother in law and the various kooky personages inhabiting the store in various capacities If it were a novel I d be rolling my eyes and shouting at the author, stop trying so hard to be funny But since this apparently actually happened, somehow it was funny I think I now have a whole new layer of insight into why people were so upset with James Frey Not to mention the fact that the story was also charming, sweet, and surprisingly poignant at times Plus the audiobook reader did a great job, which definitely added to my experience I wonder if I would have enjoyed it as much in print, actually, which is unusual for me because I d normally rather read visually.But maybe this was the perfect audiobook not too demanding, not dumb, long enough to offer me something and short enough to hold my attention It didn t change my life or anything, but it got me through some long nights of cooking and dishwashing and I really can t complain I was downright shocked by how much I enjoyed reading My Korean Deli I read the book in a day, it was so good It s a memoir written about how Ben Waspy Bostonian white boy , his wife Gab first generation Korean , and his mother in law Korean immigrant decide to open a Korean deli in the middle of a gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn Ben works nights at the deli, and days at the Paris Review, a hoity toity literary magazine Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, but Howe does an I was downright shocked by how much I enjoyed reading My Korean Deli I read the book in a day, it was so good It s a memoir written about how Ben Waspy Bostonian white boy , his wife Gab first generation Korean , and his mother in law Korean immigrant decide to open a Korean deli in the middle of a gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn Ben works nights at the deli, and days at the Paris Review, a hoity toity literary magazine Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, but Howe does an amazing job of getting the reader to feel where he s coming from and the changes he sees in himself and his family as a result of his work at the deli.The deli a quintessential New York institution is a gift from Ben s wife to her mother as a show of appreciation It ends up being a place where they all work through their issues, be they personal Ben and Gab want to move out of Kay s house, but can t , financial they owe a lot of money in taxes on the deli or existential should run a fancy deli for newly arrived hipsters, or a round the way bodega that serves the working class residents In a completely unpretentious way, Deli lays bare what it means to be an outsider in a family or a neighborhood, what it means to be a true hustler, what gentrification looks and feels like and its ramifications , and what community really means The characters are vibrant and funny, particularly Ben s strong willed Korean mother in law Kay, and Dwayne, the eccentric deli employee that stayed on when the Howes took over the deli These people and their struggles are the people that you see on any given day in any given deli in New York or anywhere else, and I found that to be the most compelling element of the book I ve only made it to page 30, I don t think that I will finish Full disclosure I am half Korean and my mother used to own a carry out with a steam table just puttin it all out there Given that i agree that an American, his Korean wife, and MIL opening a deli in NY to assuage some guilt she has about her Mother s sacrifices, could be a hilarious or at least, interesting story.Just a few chapters in and I m kinda offended Even the stereotypical deli owning Korean family, I was going along I ve only made it to page 30, I don t think that I will finish Full disclosure I am half Korean and my mother used to own a carry out with a steam table just puttin it all out there Given that i agree that an American, his Korean wife, and MIL opening a deli in NY to assuage some guilt she has about her Mother s sacrifices, could be a hilarious or at least, interesting story.Just a few chapters in and I m kinda offended Even the stereotypical deli owning Korean family, I was going along with that So here s the thing, well a couple things 1 dialect is a hard thing to do and do it well He writes the speech of the Korean mother in the not perfect English of an immigrant, and maybe it s kinda accurate, but I didn t like it Yes, I admit, maybe I m taking it personal.2 The husband doesn t seem to appreciate his wife s culture When married into a culture different than your own, of course, the differences will stand out, and one may not fully embrace the culture of the other 100%, but you ve at least got to have some level of respect for it Right, kimchi will stink up your refrigerator and this can be made into a funny joke we do at my house but for some reason, it was irksome in this book Aside from his Korean in laws, he also goes on about North Koreans, Staten Island, and the ghetto.So I might be stuck at page 30 unless I m convinced that it will get better Note edit I did buy it knowing the premise of the story, but actually had forgotten it was a memoir, til I re read the summary here on GoodReads I don t know of this changes my opinion I bought this book initially because I thought the premise was hilarious A white guy working at a Korean deli Hahaha To be honest I wasn t expecting much, but I found myself pleasantly surprised Without giving away too much, Ben Ryder Howe is a self described WASP who marries a Korean woman, Gab For whatever reason, they buy a deli for Gab s parents, Kay and Edward, which means that the whole familyor less signs their lives over to the deli Howe meanwhile works as an editor at the Pa I bought this book initially because I thought the premise was hilarious A white guy working at a Korean deli Hahaha To be honest I wasn t expecting much, but I found myself pleasantly surprised Without giving away too much, Ben Ryder Howe is a self described WASP who marries a Korean woman, Gab For whatever reason, they buy a deli for Gab s parents, Kay and Edward, which means that the whole familyor less signs their lives over to the deli Howe meanwhile works as an editor at the Paris Review What follows is a story of deli life, Paris Review life, and a study on Korean Americans Overall the book is very well written and often hilarious at times I even found myself on a rainy, windy night in Harlem waiting for the bus, clutching the book, completely engrossed by what I was reading Howe makes the mundane day to day existence of a deli interesting The character of Kay, his Korean mother in law as someone who pushed through pain and is stubborn as hell reminded me of a few of my Korean family members Other fascinating characters, include Dwayne, the sole black employee at the deli, who runs on Asian people time not black people time and George Plimpton, the eccentric former head of the Paris Review.In short, this is a good read and I d recommend this to anyone wanting to read an offbeat memoir A light, popcorn read Howe breezily walks us through the trials of an enterprise foisted on him by his Korean wife Gab and her mother Kay Never fully invested psychically, physically in the scheme to open a Korean deli in New York City and reap the profits, Howe is able to keep some cool remove in his storytelling He s an editor working for George Plimpton at The Paris Review who is mystified by the workings of the cash register, his clientele s fondness for really bad 65 cent coffee, and t A light, popcorn read Howe breezily walks us through the trials of an enterprise foisted on him by his Korean wife Gab and her mother Kay Never fully invested psychically, physically in the scheme to open a Korean deli in New York City and reap the profits, Howe is able to keep some cool remove in his storytelling He s an editor working for George Plimpton at The Paris Review who is mystified by the workings of the cash register, his clientele s fondness for really bad 65 cent coffee, and the sales tax system The most interesting and fully realized character in this memoir is Dwayne, the longtime employee the family inherits from the previous owner From his sixth sense about impending inspections and stings to his.37 pound sandwiches, sections that include Dwayne spark while others sputter along.What I d like to read is a prequel a fully realized account of his marriage into a traditional Korean family, and the trials of having to move into his wife s parents basement on Staten Island As someone who married a man who owned two fast food restaurants, I really related to Ben Howe s story He perfectly captures the craziness, the back breaking work, insanely long hours, the horrible bureaucratic obstacles and yes, the occasional rewards of owning your own small business in America.Howe tries to balance his work as an editor at the Paris Review, and the contrast between that world of the Upper East Side in NYC and the Brooklyn neighborhood where the Korean deli is located perfect As someone who married a man who owned two fast food restaurants, I really related to Ben Howe s story He perfectly captures the craziness, the back breaking work, insanely long hours, the horrible bureaucratic obstacles and yes, the occasional rewards of owning your own small business in America.Howe tries to balance his work as an editor at the Paris Review, and the contrast between that world of the Upper East Side in NYC and the Brooklyn neighborhood where the Korean deli is located perfectly mirrors the patchwork of life in New York His vivid portrait of his boss, George Plimpton, is so intriguing What I know of Plimpton has mostly come from his reports of his own adventures Paper Lion, etc , so this look at him from Howe s point of view is fascinating Then there is Howe s Korean mother in law, Kay Howe s wife Gab wanted to buy a deli for her mother to thank her for the sacrifices she made to educate Gab, sending her to college and law school While WASPy Howe doesn t quite get this, he supports his wife, and they extend their living in his in law s basement to buy the deli for Kay Kay and Ben clash immediately while trying to find a deli to buy, and when they do buy one, Ben is way too slow to pick up the nuances of working the cash register He is relegated to stocking shelves.The deli is a meeting place for various characters in the neighborhood, some who hang around all day and night Howe usually worked the late shift, so his customers were the creatures of the night He grew to tolerate, and respect, these people, even while they exasperated him One employee, an African American man named Dwayne, came with the store, and while he was a good employee, always showing up for work, he frequently offended customers of the store with his language In a book filled with colorful, interesting people, Dwayne is perhaps the most interesting He knows everyone and everything about the neighborhood, and is a single dad trying to raise his daughters.Immigrants are the backbone of this nation, and Howe tells Kay and her husband s story with honesty and respect Where they came from, how hard they worked to get to America and make something of themselves, it is a tribute to the people who work long, hard hours, doing work that many people refuse to do, that explain how many cultures come here and make a success of themselves for their families Howe nails the difficulties of owning your own small business the strain it puts on a marriage, the constant money worries it s a 24 7 responsibility, much like having a child, which Ben and Gab are also struggling to do His tales of the deli, what it means to the neighborhood, to his family, and eventually to him, give the reader a real appreciation of small business owners I loved his story of Gab trying to get from Queens to Brooklyn during a horrible snowstorm, and of keeping the store open during the big blackout.Howe is a gifted writer, and this book is one I would highly recommend It s a great American story 2.5 stars On the one hand, Ben Ryder Howe writes competently His prose isn t purple, and doesn t get in the way of the story but overall, it s not memorable Which is to say, it s amusing, but ultimately bland.Howe s memoir is about taking the plunge into small business ownership with his Korean American wife, who wants to purchase a deli to give to her mother The plan is to get it up and running before turning it over to Howe s mother in law, who is stereotypically concerned with hard wor 2.5 stars On the one hand, Ben Ryder Howe writes competently His prose isn t purple, and doesn t get in the way of the story but overall, it s not memorable Which is to say, it s amusing, but ultimately bland.Howe s memoir is about taking the plunge into small business ownership with his Korean American wife, who wants to purchase a deli to give to her mother The plan is to get it up and running before turning it over to Howe s mother in law, who is stereotypically concerned with hard work, family loyalty, and money.Oh, this book had potential It s a crazy situation, and I was looking forward to the Korean part of My Korean Deli Unfortunately, it didn t deliver what I was looking for I was expecting hilarious What I got was vaguely amusing, with a side of attempted deep and meaningful.Howe s writing is not of the laugh out loud variety you d expect with a cover like that There are a few amusing lines, but overall the prose reads as though he s trying very hard to be funny, rather than actually pulling it off There are also a number of extremely difficult situations throughout the book, including a few of the near death and death variety, where there is a clear attempt at bringing a deeper meaning into the story Yes, Howe brings some ruminations on life They re a littlebroad than deep.I also would have liked to see fuller characterization of Howe s wife, and the relationship between the two After all, she is the one who brought on the idea of purchasing a deli in the first place You have to be a pretty committed husband to go along with that, throwing most of your life savings into a project with very high rates of failure and moving in with your in laws out of necessity But this crucial relationship and the changes that inevitably occur falls into the background, making way for the flashier story of arguing about gourmet vs traditional delis, andexpensive coffee.Sometimes amusing, but not the book to read if you re looking for the meaning of life.Final word meh It s not a necessary read Source I received an ARC of this title through the publisher. Ben Ryder Howe brings the reader along on his adventure of purchasing a deli in Brooklyn in order to allow his spunky mother in law to run the store This memoir brings to light Korean traditions and anecdotes from living in the middle of a Korean extended family.My only knock on this book is that at times Howe tries too hard to be funny Otherwise, a fun memoir revealing Korean American culture in NYC.

!!> Epub ➣ My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store ➢ Author Ben Ryder Howe – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk
  • Audio CD
  • 7 pages
  • My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store
  • Ben Ryder Howe
  • English
  • 09 March 2017
  • 1441779345