Monday, October 31, 2011

This Burns My Heart - Samuel Park

This book was written by a friend from my freshmen dorm - I previously read and enjoyed his book Shakespeare's Sonnets, and I was eaget to read his new one set in Korea and based loosely on the life of his mother.  The heroine of the novel, Soo-Ja Choi, is eager to move to Seoul and become a diplomat.  But her family and tradition expect her to get married and have a family.  In the hopes of tricking a man into making her dream come true, Soo-Ja marries the first option that comes along - a weak individual she is sure she can bend to her will.  Instead, Soo-Ja finds herself at the mercy of cruel in-laws, and pining after the man she believes she should have married.  Much of this book was painful to read.  Soo-Jais trapped by decisions she makes as a very naive young woman - decisions made out of obligation and incomplete information, and they are decisions that end up affecting her entire family - financially and emotionally.  But, throughout the story, I kept pulling for Soo-Ja, hoping that she would find a way to happiness - and finally change her fate, rather than simply enduring what she thinks life has thrust upon her.  Of course, the fact that I know the author impacts my view of the novel - I loved it and am so impressed by Sam's writing and his courage in sharing it with the world.  But, I think that my review would be the same even if I didn't know him.  This Burns My Heart is filled with so many of the fears, anxieties, and hopes that I believe all women who long for independence hold in their hearts - and I am impressed that a male author was able to access those feelings so accurately.  A definitely favorite for the year.

No comments: