11 July 2012 ~ 2 Comments

Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely: Stories About Love, Life, Death and Discover from an American in South Korea by Alex Clermont

I read this book over the course of just two settings. When the author contacted me with a copy of this book for review, I was pretty excited. I love memoirs and books that put the writer into a new country. I dug in… and put it down after 45 minutes the first time.

The good: This guy has a story to tell.
The bad: He never really gets around to the good parts.

There’s something here but the sloppy-looking execution of this book never really gets us to the good stuff. It feels very slapped together, unedited and unorganized. I’m okay with it being a narrative. I like narratives, but it very much needed someone to pull this story together, flesh it out and make me want to like the author more.

This is more of a 2.5 star book that really needs some editing and an interview with the author by a ghost writer to make it great. I hope the author continues to grow and do more. There’s definitely something there but the story and the culture were lost a bit in the translation to print.

I’ll look forward to the author’s other works, he has a good style, it just needs work.

Recommended for those die hard travel memoir folks.

Imagine leaving behind everybody and everything familiar to live in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and don’t know a soul. Worst yet, you look different from everybody there. People find your cultural norms insulting, and you can’t get a date to save your life.

Imagine you wrote a book about your time there…

Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely is a collection of snapshots that cover the two years that Alex Clermont lived in the country of South Korea as an English teacher. Scribed with a flair for humor, emotion, character and depth, these introspective narratives do more than act as a travel guide. They are creatively written windows into the life of someone discovering new things about himself, the world, and the people who he shares it with-all while stuffing his mouth with kimchi.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book count for 2012: 11
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2 Responses to “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely: Stories About Love, Life, Death and Discover from an American in South Korea by Alex Clermont”

  1. Jae Kim 19 July 2012 at 11:13 am Permalink

    I am surprised to find out this book while I am searching for a reviewer for my picture book. I am surprised again to find out that reviews on Amazon are more than positive – I’ve lived abroad and I would feel catharsis when I find out something to agree on. Therefore I rely on your review. (I’ve almost by this book because of my curiosity.)
    I eat Kimchi and nod really politely. 🙂
    Jae Kim´s last blog post ..Invite Cute Lazy Bugs to Your Home.

  2. Candy 19 July 2012 at 11:19 am Permalink

    The thing is that I think the story is worthy… it just needed help and someone to help him draw it out. Obviously, others on Amazon liked it more than I did. I hope he’s able to rewrite it with the help of someone else. He could really have a great story there.

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