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Review: Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin

Title: Please Look After Mom
Author: Kyung-Sook Shin
Year Published: 2011

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 254
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map): South Korea

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): When Sixty-nine-year-old So-Nyo is separated from her husband among the crowds of a the Seoul subway station, her family begins a desperate search to find her. Yet as long-held secrets and private sorrows begin to reveal themselves, they are forced to wonder: how well did they actually know the woman they called Mom?

Told through the piercing voices and urgent perspectives of a daughter, son, husband, and mother, Please Look After Mom, is at once an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love.

Review: I read about this book when Ti reviewed it on Book Chatter and she wasn't wrong: this one is really good with relationships. And, it's a mom book so I thought the timing was good with Mother's Day coming up on Sunday.

This book is both intense and lovely at the same time. I know that sounds like a strange combination, but the intensity comes from the feelings expressed by the various characters about their mom/wife once she has gone missing. The loveliness is in the gentle writing style. One aspect that I did have trouble with is the point of view of the narrators. "When you think about mom..." feels awkward to me. I wish it had been written in the first person so I felt the people owned their ideas and feelings.

What would I feel if my mom went missing? That's the intense part about this book. Her children and her husband each narrate a part of the book, talking about how they feel about their mother, wondering what led to her disappearance, and they reflect upon how they treated her. This is the part that really gets the reader thinking: do we take our loved one for granted; how do we treat them; are we getting everything from our relationships that we can?

Challenges for which this counts:

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