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Book 58 of 80

September 19, 2010

From China to North Korea with Sook Nyul Choi’s Year of Impossible Goodbyes — a YA historical novel that follows a family living in Japanese occupied North Korea in 1945.

We know a lot about Japan in WWII from the Japan-US lens (Pearl Harbor, the battles in the Pacific, and, ultimately, Hiroshima and Nagasaki)…but this isn’t a well taught or often looked at perspective. The story is told from the eyes of an eight or nine year-old girl — as she watches her family attempt to salvage dignity and a sense of self, despite the strong and oppressive rule of the Japanese.

I was drawn to all the positive reviews of this book while searching for a book set in either North or South Korea. For some of those reviewers, nostalgia played a small role — many remembered reading this book in school or loving it as a child. Year of Impossible Goodbyes was released when I was in middle school. These were formative reading years for me as I voraciously devoured every single Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine’s “Fear Street”, or, Stephen King I could get my hands on. I’m not entirely surprised I missed this one.

But that only means I can read it now.

Although, I almost stopped reading it. Because as I was turning the pages, someone wrote a very ominous message for me. Written on the bottom right hand corner of several pages, I noticed letters. I went back and discovered that if read from start to finish, the message read: Stop reading I’m warning you.

I’ve seen enough movies to know that you shouldn’t mess around with that stuff. And my overactive imagination immediately conjured up some dead girl cursing the book and haunting its readers. I should stay away from prolonged times in front of mirrors without constantly checking out what’s behind me. And scary sounds should not be ignored. If it’s a child that is doing the haunting, I’m totally screwed. Everyone knows that scary Asian kids are THE WORST in horror films.

But after several deep breaths, I decided I’d risk it. I do want to finish this in good time and ditching it for paranoia related to years and years of ill-advised watching of scary movies would set me back too much. However, for the record: If something strange does happen? Burn the library book!!

Just kidding. Don’t burn the library book. Maybe it’s like the “The Ring” and I can be saved if I share the book with someone else. Any takers?

Warning: This book is probably going to be super sad! Stop now!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Marisa permalink
    September 19, 2010 10:14 pm


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