Tag Archives: Vintage

Review: Homegoing

Homegoing

Homegoing
By Yaa Gyasi
Vintage, Paperback, 9781101971062, May 2017, 320pp.

The Short of It:

A story about two women, living very different lives and how their lives form the generations to come.

The Rest of It:

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. ~ Indiebound

My book club chose this book for June and it was an excellent book to discuss but the book as a whole didn’t work for me. The story is told by different characters, each chapter a story in and of itself. Some of these stories I was very into and others, not so much. The ones that really moved me were often too short and then in no time a new character was being introduced.

What the author did well was give the reader an accurate picture of what it was like for slaves during that time. The details of the horrific living conditions are very hard to read. Although I would have liked to focus on fewer characters, I do think the handling of the characters was does well given the large period of time covered in the novel (eight generations).

What thoroughly added to the discussion was the additional facts provided by our discussion host. Lots of information about the Gold Coast and an explanation of boundaries. If I had read this book on my own I don’t think I would have liked it very much but as a discussion book I think it worked very well.

Have you read it?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Please Look After Mom

Please Look After Mom

Please Look After Mom
By Kyung-Sook Shin
Vintage, Paperback, 9780307739513, April 2012, 272pp.

The Short of It:

The sacrifices that a mother makes for her children and husband are not fully realized until she goes missing.

The Rest of It:

Sometimes you read a book and it stays with you for a very long time. Please Look After Mom is one such book.

Sixty-nine year old So-nyo is with her husband at a Seoul rail station when they become separated from each other. Suddenly, days have passed and she has not been found. As the family gathers to post flyers, each of them find themselves questioning the life she’s lived and the sacrifices she’s made. As their search continues and the days pass without any news, they discover things about their mother that they never knew and it dawns on them that the severe headaches she complained of and the lapses in memory were perhaps more serious than she let on.

This book hit me hard. As a daughter, I just kept thinking of my own mom who passed away late last year and how so many things were left unsaid between us. Mental illness and addiction took center stage and I was left to dream about a mother I could never have. But then you look at this book from a mother’s perspective and you can certainly see why she did the things that she did. I’m telling you, this book grabbed me from all directions and it nearly caused me to “ugly cry” and that’s saying a lot.

Parts of the story are told using a second person point of view which always throws me off. Once I got used to it and how it was used to tell the story, it just felt right for the author to share the story that way. There’s an intimacy to it that leaves you feeling a little uncomfortable, which in this case wasn’t necessarily a bad feeling. It just really got me thinking about mothers, children, marriage and everything in between.

I can’t even adequately tell you how this book made me feel because it affected me on so many levels but it was a really good read and very different from what I’ve been reading lately. I’m so glad my book club chose it for our May meeting. Looking forward to the discussion.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.