My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store

My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store

by Ben Ryder Howe
3.8 56

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview

My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe

This warm and funny tale of an earnest preppy editor finding himself trapped behind the counter of a Brooklyn convenience store is about family, culture, and identity in an age of discombobulation.

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 more 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 at night to slice cold cuts and peddle lottery tickets. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250002471
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 02/28/2012
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 510,826
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ben Ryder Howe has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Outside, and his work has been selected for Best American Travel Writing. He is a former senior editor of The Paris Review. He, his wife, and their two children live on Staten Island. My Korean Deli is his first book.

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My Korean Deli 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
BookHounds More than 1 year ago
This book was totally unexpected. I didn't really read the description of the book, but since I love to read off beat memoirs, I thought, sure, why not? Just from the title alone, I was only counting on a person and their dive into the deep end of self employment retail hell, but I got so much more. This is no simple story about marriage and retail partnership either since it delves into intercultural relationships as well. Howe marries into a Korean family and they are known for their industrious attitude towards work. His mother in law steals the show though with her Yoda like proclamations about life and how everything needs to be done NOW, preferably before NOW! Gab, Howe's wife feels that she hasn't accomplished anything compared to her mother and even though she has a law degree, she is driven to make it in the deli world. I never knew how difficult city bureaucracy and fines can make or break a small business. And if they don't get you, the vendors will. I really thought that the most eloquent parts of this book were Howe's interactions with his day job boss, George Plimpton at the Paris Review. Howe descriptions of Plimpton and his interactions are comedic jewels. Plimpton exclaims that he would love to work a shift as a "stocker" when the store is open is priceless. Overall, this is a sweet memoir about how a family can pull together and make things work. I received this book at no expense in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diary of a comidian 2: Well, here I am. Now, note that I'm the oldest kid here. So I don't want to do any of the kiddie stuff. OK, so it happened at smallgroup. We had dinner.... like usual. We watched endless hours of "Paw Patrol".... as usual. We played duck duck goose.... as usual. We cleaned up (even if I didn't take out a single thing.) People eat my cheesecake and grabbed my buissness cards..... as I expected. Then we heard a scream from the bedroom.... like never ever before. Followed by crying.... like never ever before. My dad saw a speck of red on the floor..... like never ever before. Alex cut his foot..... like never EVER befor. So basicly the shower door broke and he stepped on glass. The end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A familiar she cat with a snow white pelt and ice blue eyes pads in. "I thought better of you, Crow." She says
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Comes in and stars having s*x with Crow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a fun read - Ben Howe is a grest storyteller whether it was stories about George Plimpton or his mother and father in law, he kept me intrrested and entertained. I hope he writes another book soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hoping for more in the way of humorous or poignant anecdotes. What I found was mostly long passages of introspecive musings. The author's family, employees, co-workkers, and all the other characters deserved more attention and better development. This could have been a great read if Mr. Howe would have given them more respect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author makes the Korean characters speak in broken English. Yes that is realistic, but me being Korean myself, i fiund it that a biiffdingest
DivorceCoachNancyKay More than 1 year ago
Absorbing, Witty and Engaging! From the very first few pages I felt like I was joining in on this nail-biting journey and meeting all the people that cross their paths along the way. Will Ben and Gab keep their marriage alive as they continue to live in their in-law's basement? I highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My book group read and discussed My Korean Deli last month and we thought it was a good story, humorous and insightful. The story was not what I expected, but in a good way. I have a new appreciation for convenience stores and for their regular customers.
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I like Ben Ryder Howe's comical way of writing about his deli experiences and life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of fun and easy to read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The hilarious memoir of a soft-bellied literary editor who decides to buy run a Brooklyn deli with his wife and Korean mother-in-law.
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Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
On the surface My Korean Deli is about the experience Ben Howe has owning a deli in New York with his wife and her Korean parents, but its really about so much more! In his funny, self - effacing way he talks about the issues his in-laws faced as immigrants, what it was like for his wife to grow up with immigrant parents, and how that shaped what they wanted the store to become. While trying to make a go of the deli (no easy task) Ben works at the Paris Review for George Plimpton, so sprinkled throughout the story are tidbits about George and his eccentric, delightful beliefs and the extradordinary experience of working for him. By the end, Ben Howe has written a new kind of coming-of-age story in which the owning the deli has given him unusual insight about himself and changed who he is. First, this book is just really funny and endearing. Ben is so honest about his own faults and unrealistic dreams that you can't help but like him. Plus, a deli in New York has to be one of the best places to find every variety of crazy out there, so the stories are highly entertaining. Ben's commentary on the publishing industry and immigrant issues deepen the book, giving it a more satisfying heft. The beginning was a little slow to get going for me, but after that the book had me laughing and cheering for Ben and his Korean in-laws. I listened to My Korean Deli on audio, narrated by Bronson Pinchot. There was nothing striking or fancy about the reading which suited the book perfectly. By the end the voice matched the story so well I would have sworn that the book was read by Ben Howe himself.