Monday, July 17, 2006

“Somebody’s Daughter”

I finished reading Marie Myung-Ok Lee’s book “Somebody’s Daughter” while I waited on the runway in North Carolina. For a strict book review, you can check out my other blog to see what the book is all about.

What I want to share is my impression of the book as a Korean adoptee. I almost didn’t finish the book because the first few chapters of the book really disturbed me on a level that I wasn’t quite ready to admit. After I put the book down for a day and went back to it, I realized that it was because it struck a little too close to home. The book was meant to be a little disturbing – it isn’t a happy ever after fairytale – it is a story designed to mirror real life.

I didn’t feel a kinship with the main character, Sarah, because of what she did in the book. I have never been drawn to return to Korea and I have never felt an urge to find my birth mother, but I recognized some of my emotions in this character. When Sarah first begins her classes in Korea and she first interacts with the other students, there is this sense of belonging nowhere. Though in my life I’ve rarely had that feeling (especially not with the intensity of the main character), I did have it and it’s an unpleasant feeling to dredge back to the forefront of your thoughts. Reality.

Once I got by my own hang-ups, I was lost in the story. The dual storyline – the Korean adoptee and the Korean birth mother – was fascinating to me and I was captivated by the glimpses of Korean culture in each chapter. For someone who is not a Korean adoptee or a Korean birth mother, Marie Lee brought their stories to life.

I would urge anyone involved in Korean adoption to read this book. It shows some of the better sides of adoption, but it also shows some of the darker sides - the things that people try to forget about so that they can have their happy ever after endings. I won't give away the ending of the book, but I give the author three cheers for her ending. I would have been disappointed if it ended any other way.

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