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madbkwm

madbkwm

The Dead Do Not Improve - Jay Caspian Kang I don't feel like I have the cultural capital to understand and like a book like this. I felt like it was trying for a modern (2000s) version of High Fidelity, but it just fell short for me.

As a middle class white girl, I know I'm not really allowed to talk about race, but Kang felt like he was just whining a lot here. I found it funny that he aspired to be treated as the Jews: "'We were talking about Jews, man. Koreans as the new Jews. When white people have to stop feeling guilty about you and start planning around you, it means you've arrived," and "But when it comes to posting some terrifying shit--like landlords who let their tenants die over fifty bucks in repairs--and it comes to naming names, then they're all over Koreans and the Jews. It's a sign of fucking respect". I get it...I get why being a scapegoat and having a stereotype of success and frugality would be better than a stereotype of lazy and useless, but I felt like he really, really wanted us to see how Koreans and Jews were the same.

The writing was clunky and there were a lot of unnecessary lists. Kang was trying to be cool and show his cool and it just felt like I was sitting in someone's stinky basement looking at their crappy vacation photos: really, you want to show me this again just to prove that you can?

And the plot (yeah, this is supposed to be a murder mystery and suspenseful) was ridiculous. It was too Scooby-Doo and hard to follow and convenient and terribly overdone. It was almost as bad as a JFK conspiracy theory argument. It was just ramshackle garbage (should I stop now or continue with my list just to show I can?).

Overall, I wasn't impressed and it was hard to force my way through it (this from the woman who reads anything and everything). Unless you are also a Korean wanna-be badass, I'm not sure it will appeal.