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Memoir of a Cashier: Korean Americans, Racism, and Riots

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Author Carol Park grew up in Los Angeles County during the 1980s and 1990s, a time of ethnic strife. Now she seeks to give voice to the Korean American community both then and now. "Memoir of a Cashier" is more than just a description of a young girl's life growing up while working in a bulletproof cashier's booth in Compton, California. Park tells the story of the Korean Author Carol Park grew up in Los Angeles County during the 1980s and 1990s, a time of ethnic strife. Now she seeks to give voice to the Korean American community both then and now. "Memoir of a Cashier" is more than just a description of a young girl's life growing up while working in a bulletproof cashier's booth in Compton, California. Park tells the story of the Korean American experience leading up to and after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Intricately weaving the story of her mother into the text, she provides a bird's-eye view into the Korean American narrative from her own unique perspective. With candor and direct language, she recounts the racism and traumatic incidents she lived through. Park bore witness to shootings, robberies, and violence, all of which twisted her worldview and ultimately shaped her life. In this memoir, a Korean American woman recalls her experiences of Los Angeles during the 1992 riots and shares her journey of finding her identity.


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Author Carol Park grew up in Los Angeles County during the 1980s and 1990s, a time of ethnic strife. Now she seeks to give voice to the Korean American community both then and now. "Memoir of a Cashier" is more than just a description of a young girl's life growing up while working in a bulletproof cashier's booth in Compton, California. Park tells the story of the Korean Author Carol Park grew up in Los Angeles County during the 1980s and 1990s, a time of ethnic strife. Now she seeks to give voice to the Korean American community both then and now. "Memoir of a Cashier" is more than just a description of a young girl's life growing up while working in a bulletproof cashier's booth in Compton, California. Park tells the story of the Korean American experience leading up to and after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Intricately weaving the story of her mother into the text, she provides a bird's-eye view into the Korean American narrative from her own unique perspective. With candor and direct language, she recounts the racism and traumatic incidents she lived through. Park bore witness to shootings, robberies, and violence, all of which twisted her worldview and ultimately shaped her life. In this memoir, a Korean American woman recalls her experiences of Los Angeles during the 1992 riots and shares her journey of finding her identity.

47 review for Memoir of a Cashier: Korean Americans, Racism, and Riots

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I'd give this book one more star if the author hadn't misspelled Nancy Reagan's name... I mean come on, it's a U.S. President and the author is a journalist. That threw me off from early in the book... it's just sloppy. Aside from that, this was a pretty interesting memoir about a woman who was raised working as a gas station cashier in Compton in L.A., before, during and after the Rodney King riots. She worked at ground zero, as a very young Korean girl trapped in the phone-booth-sized bulletpro I'd give this book one more star if the author hadn't misspelled Nancy Reagan's name... I mean come on, it's a U.S. President and the author is a journalist. That threw me off from early in the book... it's just sloppy. Aside from that, this was a pretty interesting memoir about a woman who was raised working as a gas station cashier in Compton in L.A., before, during and after the Rodney King riots. She worked at ground zero, as a very young Korean girl trapped in the phone-booth-sized bulletproof box, working incredibly long subsequent shifts. She had racial slurs yelled at her all the time, saw people getting shot, etc. It was a harsh look at the worst side of people. She described how this experience made her a hard, cold person who yelled racial slurs right back... which is interesting to think about--in the sense of "do 2 wrongs make a right?" It was hard being confronted with the tendency of some wronged and disadvantaged people to lash out at those no better off than themselves. She described her evolution into a more open, forgiving, and enlightened mindset, after some tough experiences.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sumuari

    This mirrored a lot of my life during the early 90s. So much so that I'm pretty sure my brother worked at one of the gas stations mentioned. My mom and my aunt's business both burned down on Sa-I-Gu. While I appreciate this story being shared with a broader audience I thought it could've been written with a little more patience and details. It felt rushed but I know what it's like when your story is screaming at you to get on the page. I wouldn't have minded it being 100 more pages as it's a ver This mirrored a lot of my life during the early 90s. So much so that I'm pretty sure my brother worked at one of the gas stations mentioned. My mom and my aunt's business both burned down on Sa-I-Gu. While I appreciate this story being shared with a broader audience I thought it could've been written with a little more patience and details. It felt rushed but I know what it's like when your story is screaming at you to get on the page. I wouldn't have minded it being 100 more pages as it's a very short read. Thank you for bringing light to that moment in American history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Preeth

    “I finally understood we’re in this together. Making it harder than it already is, just isn’t worth it” Carol Park states in her powerful memoir. Park’s book permeates with the themes of racism, adolescence, and the immigrant experience. But not just any immigrant experience; she grew up in perhaps the most racially turbulent time and place in America: Compton in 1992. If there was ever a book that necessitated a film adaptation, “Memoir of a Cashier” is the archetypal example. An unforgettable “I finally understood we’re in this together. Making it harder than it already is, just isn’t worth it” Carol Park states in her powerful memoir. Park’s book permeates with the themes of racism, adolescence, and the immigrant experience. But not just any immigrant experience; she grew up in perhaps the most racially turbulent time and place in America: Compton in 1992. If there was ever a book that necessitated a film adaptation, “Memoir of a Cashier” is the archetypal example. An unforgettable read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheyenne Chan

    From a young Korean-American girl's perspective, Carol explores the hardships she was forced to face working in LA as a child, and the rextreme racism and discontent that came with it. Through a reflection of her life, Carol's account of the LA riots forces into the spotlight how all ethnicties are responsible for the racism and violence that is perpetrated, and the deeper, cross-ethnic conflicts that arise out of living in hegemonic North America. From a young Korean-American girl's perspective, Carol explores the hardships she was forced to face working in LA as a child, and the rextreme racism and discontent that came with it. Through a reflection of her life, Carol's account of the LA riots forces into the spotlight how all ethnicties are responsible for the racism and violence that is perpetrated, and the deeper, cross-ethnic conflicts that arise out of living in hegemonic North America.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Zecker

    Park's Memoir of a Cashier was lent to me by a friend with the goal of providing some perspective on the Korean experience in the United States. The memoir is a fast read, presenting events in Park's adolescence as she navigates terrifying social strife in Compton in the lead-up and during the Los Angeles riots. This perspective is not a narrative I've ever heard, and Park's ability to tell the story and weave in a rarely seen cultural dimension is as interesting as it is engaging. My major comp Park's Memoir of a Cashier was lent to me by a friend with the goal of providing some perspective on the Korean experience in the United States. The memoir is a fast read, presenting events in Park's adolescence as she navigates terrifying social strife in Compton in the lead-up and during the Los Angeles riots. This perspective is not a narrative I've ever heard, and Park's ability to tell the story and weave in a rarely seen cultural dimension is as interesting as it is engaging. My major complaint about the book is simply it's major copyediting and story structure issues that detracted from my experience in reading it. While everything I am reading is clearly true, some of the misspellings, typesetting issues, and some recurring clichés detracted from the authoritative presentation I think Park's story deserved. That said, in our new age where flashpoints such as Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, Charlottesville, and many other events show that these wounds are far from being healed, Park's book reminds us how important it is for us all to work toward true brotherhood and sisterhood in our nation. In its pure essence, Park's message is more important than ever.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    read for my ETST 136 Korean American Experience class taught by Professor Kim, the author of this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    A fast, entertaining read that's as funny as it is poignant, shedding light on the lesser known side of the LA riots and reminding us of the issues that still plague our country today. A fast, entertaining read that's as funny as it is poignant, shedding light on the lesser known side of the LA riots and reminding us of the issues that still plague our country today.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yennie

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey G (allthebooks36)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  12. 5 out of 5

    Darrell Gartrell

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristine Specht

  14. 5 out of 5

    RozayReads

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jaehuen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scott Nichols

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Yoo

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Vizcarra

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Kalapos

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cariño

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela

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    A.L.

  29. 5 out of 5

    estar*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

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    Sue Gosland

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    Stacy

  33. 5 out of 5

    Ceci Claire

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    Brian Moyer

  35. 4 out of 5

    Keesha Renna

  36. 5 out of 5

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  42. 4 out of 5

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    Shelby Sabol

  45. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  46. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

  47. 5 out of 5

    Willa Martinez

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