Same Difference, by Derek Kirk Kim

Same Difference

What It’s About

Two best friends, who are a hot mess and a half. I wish I could say more than that, but it’s a short enough book that goes so many places, literally and figuratively, that there’s no summary that isn’t also a bit of a spoiler. Although I will say that it involves an awkward visit to an old hometown, and semi-accidental catfishing.

Why I Think You’d Like It

Back when The King’s Speech came out, I wasn’t all that interested in it, until I read a review that said, “you won’t know why you need to see this movie until after you’ve seen it.” That line worked on me, and I hope it will work on you.

This is a book that is alternately warmly and sadly funny. Every character is a person and every moment feels real. I loved both protagonists, despite how often they screwed up, because in their hindsight-is-20/20 awkwardness I saw myself.

The execution really shines. Every page had me feeling a whole range of emotions; giggly amusement to reflective sadness, anxiety to relief, excitement to resignation, depression to hope. The ending was a good kind of unsettling. It didn’t leave me unsatisfied, but I did leave wondering. It haunts me, not like an angry spirit, but like Russell, who lived in your apartment before you and electrocuted himself with a faulty toaster, and who likes to sit next to you on the couch and ask slightly annoying questions, but it’s cool because he’s a good dude and he promises he’ll scare off any intruders. He’s not sure why he’s here and he doesn’t know when he’s going to leave.

Not sure where Russell came from; he’s not in the book. Anyways. It’s a good book. You should check it out.

Content Warnings

You’re good.

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