Book review by Catherine Conner
Cathy Park Hong defines minor feelings as “the racialized range of emotions that are negative, dysphoric, and therefore untelegenic, built from the sediments of everyday racial experience and the irritant of having one’s perception of reality constantly questioned or dismissed.” Her book, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, is both a memoir that describes her experience as the daughter of Korean immigrants and a poet as well as a critical examination of American culture and racism. In our understanding-based model, we emphasize connecting to people at a deeper level, including paying attention to and honoring feelings. This book challenges the reader to be aware of the broad and subtle range of feelings that can arise from being an Asian American while at the same time not creating the expectation of a typical Asian American reaction or behavior. The book does not include her poetry but her writing is reflective of her ability to use language to penetrate and provoke us. This is not a book you read quickly but rather a book that you read and sit with. I highly recommend it.