Thursday, September 20, 2012

Please Look After Mom: Book Review

I literally just finished reading the book Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin and wow, just Wow. That was such an amazing experience that I felt compelled to write about it - immediately.

This book was recommended to me by my city's foreigner book club. The first thing my friends said about it was-
"It's weird, it's written in the second person."
Me: "Wait what? To be honest, I'm not quite sure what that is."
(^^Totally an English Teacher)
"Well you know how the first person is in 'I' and the third person is in 'They'?"
"Well the second person is in 'You'."

I had never read anything in the the second person (have you?) and it was definitely a jarring experience. It's like reading a letter from a close friend except it takes you awhile to figure out exactly who you are. When things went wrong in the book YOU were blamed by people YOU don't know but are suppose to be close to. Then when YOU had an emotional connection/experience within the book and it became deeply personal, you were no longer a reader but a character living out these life events. I ached for this family that I was now apart of, I got an idea of what it's like to have siblings in Korea, and grow up with them in the countryside as a very poor family.

It was also very cool to read about a country I live in and a culture I am experiencing. When I read about Seoul or "my" mother making making kimchi I think, I've been there! or I've done that! Furthermore, Shin makes characters that everyone can relate to, I found myself comparing how I treat my mother to how the characters treated theirs and noticing similarities in personalities.

So overall this book was an emotional roller coaster that sucks you into a family who can't find their mother and the memories they are forced to relive in their search. Due to the fact it's written in the second person the empathetic emotions are strong yet that tied to the overall themes and lessons make it worth it.

I highly recommend this book!


  1. I did read something in the second person... Nikki Gemmell's "The Bride Stripped Bare".