[Review] I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee

3 Things About This Book
| A Down-to-Earth but Surface Perspective of Mental Health and Therapy | Compilation of Therapy Sessions and Personal Essays | Straightforward but Ultimately Directionless |

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee
Published: 2022 by Bloomsbury
Genre(s): Nonfiction
Book Depository

Written from the author’s perspective, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki (IWTDBIWTET) is a collection of nonfictional dialogues and personal essays that centres around mental health, loving oneself and therapy. It touches upon her therapy sessions with her psychiatrist over 12 weeks (which can only show what we have despite her ten-year journey with therapy and mental health) and includes the author’s self-reflections toward those sessions.

“This is a record of a very ordinary, incomplete person who meets another ordinary, incomplete person, the latter of whom happens to be a therapist” (Page 156).

While I greatly appreciated the down-to-earth, straightforward approach the author took, the final few essays really accentuated the point of how IWTDBIWTET is ultimately directionless. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s no point to this book (having good mental health and loving oneself is a continuous journey, after all) and I’m not saying that I expected a happy ending or answers (re: the continuous journey). Rather, there comes a point where despite relating to and understanding where the author and psychiatrist are coming from, the book becomes evidently structureless, mirroring the sessions the author had. Moreover, I think the book would’ve been stronger had the postscript chapter not been included. At least then, the content seems to come to a circle with a final line that relates back to the title.

“To right every wrong you come across in the world would be an impossible endeavor for any one person. You’re just one person, and you’re putting too much of the weight of the world on yourself” (Pages 11-12).

Nevertheless, I think this is an alright place to start for those that have little experience with therapy or have only begun their healthy mental health journey. You won’t find the overly-positive vibe that self-help books have or the accusatory, scary voice that makes you feel like you’re not “normal” (whatever “normal” is). Instead, IWTDBIWTET has a hopeful, and reflective tone as the author looks back and reflects. Though, of course, when there are ups, there will be downs too.



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