Friday, February 14, 2020

Coping with Dark Thoughts: I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki by Baek Se-Hee [Book Review]

Title: I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokpokki (Indonesian Version)
Author: Baek Se-hee
Translator: Hyacinta Louisa
Publisher: Penerbit Haru
Genres: Non-fiction, Self help, Psychology
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: August 2019
Pages: 240

Synopsis (Goodreads): 
Aku: Bagaimana caranya agar bisa mengubah pikiran bahwa saya ini standart dan biasa saja? 

Psikiater: Memangnya hal itu merupakan masalah yang harus diperbaiki? 

Aku: Iya, karena saya ingin mencintai diri saya sendiri. 

I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokpokki adalah esai yang berisi tentang pertanyaan, penilaian, saran, nasihat, dan evaluasi diri yang bertujuan agar pembaca bias menerima dan mencintai dirinya. 

Buku self improvement ini mendapatkan sambutan baik karena pembaca meraskan hal yang sama dengan kisah Baek Se Hee sehingga buku ini mendapatkan predikat bestseller di Korea Selatan.

My rating: 5 / 5 ★

I think one of the most important lessons that I learned from this book is that there is only one "you" in this world, and you are special in your own way, regardless of what happens. I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki is a book originally written in Korean, about a woman diagnosed with dysthymia. Baek Se-hee wrote the dialogues during her sessions with a psychiatrist, and included her inner thoughts on how she wants to love herself better.

Although it's already a best-selling book in South Korea, I was only made known of the existence of this book thanks to ARMYs (fans of BTS) in their Sherlock-mode again by noticing Namjoon (RM of BTS) placing this book on his bed (or bedside?) from a video clip of BTS. I am constantly amazed by Namjoon's philosophy and characteristics, so I always look forward to know the kind of books that he reads. It was a real shame I gave up on learning Korean properly–I really should get back to my lessons again someday–, so I could not read it myself.

But late last year, a good friend of mine from Indonesia notified me that their local publisher, Penerbit Haru, was working on an Indonesian translation of I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki. And thanks to the same friend, I was finally able to own a copy of the book! This marks my first time reading a book in another language other than my mother tongue language, Bahasa Melayu, and English; but then again, Bahasa Indonesia is relatively similar to Bahasa Malaysia and thanks to watching a number of Indonesian dramas when I was young, I didn't have a hard time grasping the content of this book.

I don't read a lot of self-help books–I can't remember any apart from Loveability by Robert Holden, but I didn't even finish reading the book completely–so I was quite unsure what to expect from reading this. I had wanted to love this book, and that is exactly how it ended to be—and perhaps I love it more than I had hoped.

Although I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki is actually a compilation of written dialogues between the author and her psychiatrist, I was able to immerse myself into the conversation, to the point that it felt very intimate, as if I was in her situation all along. I was never clinically diagnosed with depression or any other mental illness, but I went through my own dark moments and I could relate to most of the things that Baek Se-hee went through. The confusion in Baek Se-hee's dialogues mirror my own, and the psychiatrist's words sent me a blanket of comfort that I absolutely needed.

I had prayed for 2020 to start of well for me, but alas, January did not end as the best time for me. However, the presence of this book, the words and dialogues written by Baek Se-hee were able to help me cope with my own dark overwhelming thoughts. I didn't finish the book in one seating, it took a whole deal lot of times, but I am utterly grateful for it. I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki is the kind of book that I will keep very close to me, and will reach out to it again whenever I'm at my lowest.

I definitely recommend everyone to read this book. I was able to relate to a lot of it, and I hope others will find comfort from it as well. I hope that even when you feel like dying, there is something that you still want to do to stay alive, no matter how small the matter is, even if it's only craving for some spicy rice cakes.


Rasa percaya bahwa meskipun bukanlah hari yang sempurna, hari ini bisa menjadi hari yang cukup dan baik-baik saja. Rasa percaya bahwa hidup adalah ketika meskipun aku merasa depresi seharian penuh, aku masih bisa tersenyum hanya gara-gara sebuah hal kecil sekali pun.

(Believing that even though it is not a perfect day, today can still be a good day. Believing that even when I feel depressed for the whole day, I can still smile because of the littlest of things.)

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


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