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Somebody's Daughter by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Somebody's Daughter

by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

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This is kinda nice; I like it.

And I like that it's about women. (It's good to see that they're as vicious to each other as they are to me.)

And from the more sociological perspective: I had alot of Asian friends in high school, and they were very American: just like me. But gradually, with maturity, it dawned on me how very different things were with their parents. (Not that the white Baby Boomer parents were the heroes of perfection that they declared themselves to be...)

Anyway, it's just something worth understanding.

Assuming, of course, that I understand.

If you know what I mean. (" 'Korea is a man swirled,'--is that a common phrase in America?")

And it is kinda longish, although the quality of the writing is constant throughout most of it. (Not as much at the end...but even in tennis, it's hard to close.)

And yet, a sense of different-ness eventually settles in, like a film of dust that's settled on top on your dresser...when did it get there? But there it is...judgments I can't agree with, and never could have...as mysterious as an unforced error that should have been a winner...

(After all, the 'Wimbledon Effect' can be many things, but it sure isn't racist...so how's that for tennis-is-racist, eh? But, *oh moh*!, I forgot, everything her adoption-mother does is racist, *by definition*, since she's a paleface...just like her half-Korean friend Doug! ...And isn't that the sign of the nativist, always looking for a reason to exclude, and never looking for reasons to include...It sounds like they could use a 'Wimbledon Effect' of their own, or a Little New York, if you will--but! --*oh moh*!--that might encourage the Yankee scum and the *mongrels*! *sigh*)

But, what's prose is prose.

Although, even though it's supposed to be a Big Wheel, it starts to spin a little less smoothly towards the end. Or maybe I was just starting to get a little peeved that everything American or Nordic or non-Korean in culture had to be compared, on some level, to 'Gilligan's Island', or just straight-off dismissed as merely 'material', in a snobbish sort of way, intellectual, and yet somehow bound up with Blood in the most insecure kind of way...every cell-phone she saw in Korea proved that it was Not A Third World Country, but everything from Minnesota ('10,000 Lakes'!) or America was merely material, and that nonsense eventually eroded much of my original sympathy for her...I mean, unless you think it's fair to equate everything of Spanish-speaking culture with the wierdo announcer guy at the Mexican soccer games, the way she does with things she doesn't like, as if we were all too stupid to notice the difference between a malcontent-teenager and a grown-up...

(And, in case you were wondering, the epitome of Spanish culture is Rafa Nadal, or Feliciano Lopez. "Some people say it should be illegal." "Some people, are stupid. Estupido!" Also note: the epitome of being (a) *Danish* is *Caroline Wozniacki*. And anyone who disagrees with the previous statement is Not my friend--so there!)

Maybe I was just waiting for her to grow up...although I notice that some people don't. And, after a certain point, it doesn't matter if it's the miserable Irish Catholic childhood, or the Korean at the Norwegian table, or the fucking 'Captive of Kensington Palace', for that matter. If life's a contest, it sure ain't a contest for the Best Sob Story, that's for sure. Unless, of course, all you want is fucking *pity*, like a *baby*...

But, on the other hand, it all sounds realistic enough, and I guess I don't find any glaring faults *with the author*...

*shrugs* Because like I said, I've had alot of Asian friends, and the thing about having friends is, you learn to notice when they're trying to bullshit you, just like they do with you. *shrugs* And if they want sympathy, they can know that when my dad (ex-hippie) calls them 'idolators', I don't listen; I think he's an ass.

Although I could say it another way, and say that the fact that she can't seem to tell the difference between a gang of abusive American soldiers, and any old swearin' Yankee sailor, who doesn't act like a Fulbright Scholar *because he's not*, is what keeps the August Fulbright Scholar Lady from being anything more than an average novelist, even though God knows we couldn't put her in the same place as those *average* Minnesota people.

It's one thing to notice that the guy wearing the PRINCETON sweater is an asshole, but it takes a little more guts to do something about your own--to fold the damn thing up, and put it away where no-one can see it.

And if I had to choose one thing that me and my AP buddies didn't get, that would be it! (In this context, 'AP' does not stand for 'armor plating', but that's what we put around our hearts. If this novel can prove one thing, it's that it's the girls just as much as the boys, sometimes, at least.)

P.S. This might be Young Person Bias, but, even though the parts about her mother aren't poorly written, they aren't the same--they're even in third person, instead of first, like Sarah's. (N.B. Some of the complaints about her name seemed a little small-minded, to me...you know how it is: small-minded, All-Wise...) The mother's parts seemed a bit like a very very long afterthought, so I wasn't surprised when the author's end-note basically confirmed this, in so many words. And especially near the end, it was too much about the marital adventures of mom (with the guy who's not the father, even? Why not ignore him the way Ken is ignored? It is about women, after all...), and even though she may have felt Obliged to expand it to Half, because of Equality, maybe Sarah-talks-mom should have been less than Sarah-talks-Sarah.

In other words, if I penalized for excessive length the way I really ought to, I would've taken away more points. *winks*

P. P. S. Why be afraid of names that rhyme, just because they're semi-Euro? (Like Sarah?) Jim Kim, Marie Lee. Especially 'Lee', since it's ultimately just a consonant followed by a vowel, so it can be as Korean as it is Confederate, or as Confederate as it is Korean. (Unless she's trying to remind someone that she's part of some special tribe that other Korean people aren't a part of, LOL.)

(8/10) ( )
  Tullius22 | Apr 20, 2012 |
Yep! Another mother daughter struggle. A young girl from Korea is orphaned, and grows up in the USA with an adopted family. She returns to Korea as a university age student, and the story moves between the present day of her live, and the birth mother's life ranging from 18 years ago to the present. ( )
  spautler | Mar 7, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807083895, Paperback)

A "heartwarming and heartbreaking"* story of a Korean American girl's search for her roots

Somebody's Daughter is the story of nineteen-year-old Sarah Thorson, who was adopted as a baby by a Lutheran couple in the Midwest. After dropping out of college, she decides to study in Korea and becomes more and more intrigued by her Korean heritage, eventually embarking on a crusade to find her birth mother. Paralleling Sarah's story is that of Kyung-sook, who was forced by difficult circumstances to let her baby be swept away from her immediately after birth, but who has always longed for her lost child.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Adopted and raised by Scandinavian-American parents in Minnesota, a Korean teenager returns to her native country to find her mother.

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Beacon Press

2 editions of this book were published by Beacon Press.

Editions: 0807083895, 0807083887

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