Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reviewed: Please Look After Mom

I mentioned in a previous post that I'm reading Jennifer Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and Lauren Weisberger's Chasing Harry Winston. I gave up reading Weisberger's book because I felt bored of its plot. I love chick lits but this one made me felt quite saturated. I'm not however giving up on Smith's book. I'm still enjoying the story. It's just that whenever I held on to my iPad, my attention is diverted to other unproductive activities. Whenever I'm equipped with a fast wifi connection, I usually end up exploring and downloading apps. Sigh.. when could I ever finish and blog about my first e-book experience? This also makes me think that I'm perhaps better off with a classic paperback.

When I was forced to use my vacation leave credits, I went book shopping with my friend Anne. We went to our favorite Book Sale and later to Fully Booked. There were so many great reads waiting to be taken home from Fully Booked. I wanted to buy Fifty Shades of Grey and its succeeding series, Train Man, Murakami Haruki and The Fault in our Stars.  If only money was not a scarce resource that time, I would have went home with a bag of books. Of the many heavenly reads that was offered to me like candy, I ended up with this book

Photo not owned by the author
I can't figure out the responsible forces that convinced me to purchase a book authored by someone I haven't even heard. The intriguing cover and discovering that the author came from South Korea, a country that interests me these days, perhaps influenced me to finally say yes. Usually, the synopsis on the back cover provides me the final verdict of whether to purchase or not. However, despite the fact that the synopsis resembles the plot of a typical Filipino or Korean TV drama series, I ended up taking it home. To my surprise, this is one of the counted books that I was able to finish in a short span of time. I held on to the book whenever I had the opportunity to read it.  

The story evolved to a sixty-nine-year old mother and wife, Park So-nyo. Everything started when her husband lost her in the busy crowds of the Seoul subway station. The story developed in her children's efforts to find her. As her children exhausted all means to reunite their family, they later discovered their own shortcomings and the sacrifices that their mother has to silently endure. Each chapter went as a narration of the unique and unwavering sacrifices that Park So-nyo rendered to each child and later the husband, who regretfully admitted all the cruelty he committed to his wife. Most of the chapters served as a painful account of how Park So-nyo uniquely and heroically performed the role of a mother to each of her child. One confusing chapter though was devoted for Park So-nyo's own account of her life.

The few reviews I read claimed that anyone who read the book will never look at their mothers the same way again. True enough, Kyung-Sook Shin was able to leave a trail of emotional pinches in my heart. Some events that melted my heart and weakened my knees were her children's discovery that she suffered from a stroke and was never medicated, her husband spent his life making her feel unloved, her self struggle of learning to read so that she can personally appreciate her daughter's novels, when she battled the disease that will eradicate all her memories of being a mother and how she was grateful to the Lord despite being deprived in her entire life.

Park So-nyo has three children. Most of the time however, it's Hyong-Chol and Chi-hon who devoted more time and effort in finding their mother. Hyong-Chol was the first born and was evidently the favorite. Chi-hon was the oldest daughter and happens to be a successful novel writer. Between her and Hyong-Chol however, it was obvious in the story that she exerted more means to find their mother. The youngest daughter was very occupied in taking care of her three kids. Though on the latter part of the novel, she manifested some frustration of not being able to fulfill her responsibility as a daughter.

After reading some information about Kyung-Sook Shin, I somehow felt that part of her was personified in Chi-hon's character.  In a way, I also feel that the story related how Kyung-Sook Shin, her family and perhaps a typical family in South Korea struggle with poverty. More than the story, I also appreciate learning tidbits of the life, culture and traditions in South Korea as each chapter is unfolded. 

Were the children able to find their lost mother? Was it a happy ending? I'd rather keep silent about the conclusion of the story. All I can say that the story's ending will haunt readers with some symbolical passages and pictures.

Is the book worth recommending? More than numerous awards that Kyung-Sook Shin received for this work, the book is definitely worth reading. The story resembles the plot of a typical heavy drama series but the way it was delivered made the difference. Kyung-Sook Shin presented the story of a great mother in the eyes of once a negligent but regretful child in us.

I'm linking this post to Ricki of
Literary Friday


  1. Hi Diane,
    sounds like a very intense book. It's amazing what some women struggle through and still come out on top. I'll check it out on Amazon. I read the other book too, but found there was no substance to it. I still finished it though ;-)
    have a nice evening,

  2. Sounds like a book I would like to read. What a good review, my friend!

  3. That seems like a great book! I'm familiar with a couple of South Korean television shows and movies, but I've haven't given their literature a try yet. When I do, I'll be sure to look this book up!

  4. Ok I am saving this title sounds like a teary read thanks for sharing it.

  5. Hi Diana, looks like a wonderful read.....You certainly know how to write....Thanks for your recent visit and your lovely comment. Enjoy the week.


  6. Hi Diane! Oh, that sounds like a great book. I'll remember this.
    Thanks so much for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;0

  7. OOOHHH... sounds good to me! I'll put it on my wishlist. :)
    Thanks for the great review. :)


  8. Thanks so much for linking-up, Diane! This sounds like a book I would enjoy. Your review is very well-written, and I do enjoy books that are more literary (beach reads are okay, too ;P )
    I am also fascinated with South Korea as it is the most Christian nation on Earth. Thanks for writing such a fantastic review.


  9. Diane, Shanley's second comment was actually from me...she did not exit out of her account on my laptop! ;P

  10. This is one of the best books I have ever been fortunate enough to read....I cannot get it out of my mind. Simply great.
    Best Reviews for Website Design Indianapolis Company


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