Rated R Boy: Growing Up Korean in 1980s Queens is a memoir of one family’s move from South Korea to the United States. Told by its child narrator, it describes life in mid-1970s Korea and compares it to life in America, where he is exposed to things that challenge what he’d held to be sacrosanct. He sees that parades need not feature military convoys and becomes best friends with a Japanese boy despite having been taught that all Japanese were evil. He realizes that his parents are no longer the capable people they once were and gains insight about adult hypocrisy in both countries. Rated R Boy tells a moving story about a boy who learns hard trust about South Korea, the United States, his family, and his place in the world.
Yongsoo Park is the author of the novels Boy Genius, Kiriyama Prize Notable Title Selection, and Las Cucarachas, Asian American Literary Award Finalist, and the essay collection The Art of Eating Bitter, about being a Hausfrau Dad and his one-man crusade to give his children an old-school analog childhood. He was born in Seoul and lives in Harlem with his children.