- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 1, 2011
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Special Offers and Product Promotions
From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
And yet when you have limited English and only your strong back and stronger will, you take on the significant risks of small business such as the deli, the drycleaner or the gas station as it is a path to financial success that is open to you.
Kay, Howe's mother in law, is the archetypical tough nut who suspiciously peers over the counter of a Korean grocer in a large urban city. This story puts a face on the kinds of struggles, the kinds of risks, the kinds of grueling physical labor people go through to make a go of it, while telling humourous, if slightly horrifying, stories of what it actually means to be behind that counter.
Howe does a great job of using humor to tell the backstory behind what it takes to deal with the deliverymen and all their tricks, the store's crumbling infrastructure, the crazy customers, the rude customers, the staff, some of who need psychological help and most dangerous of all the City Inspectors. I laughed loudly at his stunned reactions to what he was seeing happen in front of him. (And I remember thinking thank goodness the drycleaners closes at 7 pm!)
I do wish he had a stronger finish. The individual voices began to fade in the last quarter of the book. Perhaps this was by design to bring things to a close but I felt like towards the end he faltered on his original premise of the quirks and strengths of the individual players and their contributions to the strength and health of the deli.
They only operated the deli for a few years but while they did, Ben learned things about himself and came to a heightened appreciation of the values of his immigrant, go-getter, survive-anything immigrant in-laws.
Howe is a good comic writer. The book is loaded with zingers, like these:
On the difference between Ben's upbringing (Plymouth, Mass, Wasp) and Gab's (first generation Korean American): "In America, kids are supposed to antagonize their parents: they're supposed to torture them as teenagers, abandon them in college, then write as memoir in which they blame them for all their unhappiness as adults. But in Korea they serve them forever, without a second thought."
(Ben's grandmother once said to him: "You're not supposed to talk about Wasp values. You're just supposed to have them.")
On living in Staten Island, "New York City's pariah borough, a place where once-hot trends like Hummers and spitting go to die, a place so forsaken that not even Starbucks would set up a store there, nor even the most enterprising Thai restaurant owner.Read more ›
They all end up working there, in a Brooklyn neighborhood with all different ethnic groups, dealing with customers, employees, suppliers and the city of New York. The customers range from normal people stopping by in the morning for a cup of coffee, to crazy guys coming in at night and taking off their clothes. The employees range from the elderly woman who did not realize she was suppose to turn on the coffee hot plate in the morning, before selling customers coffee, to the super efficient and super chatty Dwayne Wright, the employee they inherited from the previous owner. (The book is dedicated to Dwayne Wright, and don't miss reading the dedication page, where Mr. Wright is quoted defining "Wizard of Oz disease".)
As Ben Ryder Howe goes between his day job and night job, he reflects on the differences and similarities between the two worlds and the people who live in each world. He is a boarding school WASP, with ancestors traced back to the Mayflower, so there is a lot to reflect on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh my, I fell asleep many times plodding through this book. Not what I expected. Too wordy and author goes off on too many unrelated tangents. Read morePublished 21 days ago by EyeLoveGlasses
And for all immigrants' children. We are on an island of self-discovery all by ourselves. In a generation that may never be repeated.Published 3 months ago by Mario Nemr
I'm an American married to a Korean man and I could totally relate to his story! It was a great read on the subway on my way to work everyday and I really enjoyed his writing!Published 8 months ago by Shauente R. Waters
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There's even a few twists along the way. The humanity and humor the author gives his mother-in-law and Dwayne round out the story, so it's not... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Scott Stevenson
My Korean Deli - a memoir of about an 18 month period in which the author, Ben Howe bought, owned and then sold a "Korean" deli (Korean in quotes because other than having... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Steve King
A wonderful read.... beautifully written and takes me back to my days in Ft. Greene Brooklyn. Brownstone Brooklyn in the eighties was a wonderful melting pot of every kind of... Read morePublished 11 months ago by R. Kyle
A reality show in a deli. On the plus side, Howe is a professional writer, so it reads well. But it doesn't end well. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer