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Unti Daniel Dae Kim Memoir, Kim, Daniel Dae

Unti Daniel Dae Kim Memoir

Author: Kim, Daniel Dae
Publisher: Harper
ISBN: 9780062991768, Related ISBNs: 0062991760, 9780062991744, 9780062991768
Classification: Non-Fiction


The award-winning actor, writer, producer, and activist brilliantly examines the problems of Asian-American representation in our culture today through the lens of his own personal and professional struggles as a Korean-American immigrant, in this powerful memoir of family, race, identity, assimilation, activism, and art.  

Before Daniel Dae Kim was an acclaimed actor and producer, he was Danny Kim, a Korean immigrant kid growing up in a blue-collar Rust Belt town, trying to be like his friends without disappointing his parents. Unassailably all-American and unfailingly likeable, Danny was a football player and Student Body president in high school. But being handsome and popular didn’t make him immune to the casual racism of teammates who called him “Charlie Chan” and “chinky.” At home, the Korean values of grace under pressure and careful conduct prevented discussions about the pain he endured. 

In this moving and perceptive memoir, Kim recalls those childhood experiences straddling two cultures and the unexpected joy he felt when he discovered acting—a risky career in which failure meant disappointment not only for himself but for his parents and their expectations. He chronicles his battle to overcome Hollywood’s insidious racism, his eventual rise to fame and the disorienting whirlwind of becoming part of a pop culture phenomenon, and addresses the question of what we owe ourselves and others in the wake of that success. 

While we’ve arrived at a unique moment in American culture—there has never been a better time to be an actor of color in Hollywood, Kim acknowledges—real, lasting change is not guaranteed. And, as Kim details, Asian-American performers face a particularly unique set of embedded cultural stereotypes that have proved sadly enduring to this day. Unabashedly honest, filled with painful recollections yet ultimately triumphant, Kim's memoir is uniquely American and uniquely now: the story of an immigrant who is like every other American—yet who wants to be truly seen. 

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