By Annie Choi
Meet Annie Choi. She fears cable autos and refuses to consume whatever that casts a shadow. Her brother thinks poultry is a vegetable. Her father sometimes begins fires at paintings. Her mom collects Jesus buying and selling playing cards and wears plaid like it's a role. irrespective of how challenging Annie and her relatives try and comprehend each other, they generally arise hilariously brief.
But in the course of a kinfolk situation, Annie involves discover that the single strategy to continue to exist each other is to stay jointly . . . as tough as that may be. Annie Choi's Happy Birthday or Whatever is a sidesplitting, eye-opening, and transcendent story of dealing with an infuriating, difficult, yet eventually loving Korean family.
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Additional resources for Happy Birthday or Whatever: Track Suits, Kim Chee, and Other Family Disasters
Each had a clipboard, and one had a dictionary the size of a mattress. There were almost forty contestants, ranging from third to sixth grade. We sat in chairs near the stage, while the rest of the school watched in boredom. Parents were not invited; I couldn’t even imagine competing in front of my mother. When my name was called, I slowly approached the stage. At ﬁrst, I hoped that I wouldn’t fall. Then I hoped that I would fall, break every bone in my body, be whisked away in an ambulance, and never have to spell again.
Golﬁng was for the rich and white. My mother was neither. Her golf clubs were on layaway and her ﬁrst country club was right next to the 101-freeway—large nets prevented balls from smashing through windshields. To my mother, golﬁng was the next step up. Her stylish clothes made her look sophisticated and wealthy, but being good at golf was a way to act sophisticated and wealthy. Plus, many of her church friends golfed. She needed to keep up. The ﬁrst Thanksgiving after starting college, I returned home and noticed a few awards on the shelves.
I fumed. They must’ve made a mistake. A lanky sixth-grade girl stepped to the microphone. She had long straight hair with feathered bangs and wore a jean skirt and ankle boots. She smiled conﬁdently. “Lyre. L-y-r-e. ” What? That couldn’t be right. I looked at the teacher with the oversized dictionary. She nodded and gave her approval. What is a lyre? I simmered in my seat. I came in ﬁfth. After all that work, I lost. My mother picked me up from school. I slammed the car door and jerked on my seat belt.