Almost American Girl is a memoir by Robin Ha. It tells the story of how, when she was fourteen, she went on vacation from Seoul, South Korea, to Alabama with her mother to visit a friend (Mr. Kim) and his family. Speaking Korean and only a little bit of English, she struggles to keep up with Mr. Kim’s children, who speak English fluently. The food and other cultural changes are also quite an intense experience. And on top of that, she quickly finds out that this vacation was actually a permanent move. These events all happen very early in the book, and the rest focuses on the challenging times adjusting to American culture, harassment from bullies, and living with a new family. Robin Ha approaches this in a balanced and honest way, and I find it an emotional and insightful book. I’ve been looking forward to reading it ever since I read the small autobiographical segments in her graphic novel cookbook Cook Korean, and I wasn’t disappointed.
One more thing to note, I also like the way that translated Korean is written in blue text, and English is written in black text, making it much easier to understand what’s going on.