Please Look After Mom

Please Look After Mom

A Novel

Book - 2011 | 1st ed
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"Follows the efforts of a family to find the mother who went missing from Seoul Station and their sobering realizations when they recall memories that suggest she may not have been happy."--Novelist.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307593917
0307593916
Branch Call Number: F SIN-K
Characteristics: 237 p. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Kim, Chi-Young
Sin, Kyŏng-suk

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brangwinn
Nov 21, 2018

I find books written in second person challenging to read. Yet as the story of mom’s life and her disappearance in a Seoul subway station unfolds, second person is a great writing tool for telling the story. What a jerk of a husband and dad, what self-centered children, and such a strong mother. I kept worrying about how the book would end…it ends perfectly, just the way I wanted to remember the mother. The message I got from the book is that no one really knew Mom. Maybe we all need to take another look at the mothers in our lives.

This story tugs at your heartstrings and takes you along with it. It is only when So-nyo Park goes missing that her family stops and thinks about what she meant to each of them. You’ll get a great picture of Korean culture, of course, but the story itself is so powerful because the themes are universal. This is one of those books that I wanted to keep on reading, and I gained new perspective upon subsequent re-readings. When the sons and daughters reflect on their mother, they realize what she has done for them. Similarly, when the father reflects on her, he realizes for the first time that she was more than the mother of his children – she was his wife! (submitted by library customer MA)

IndyPL_SteveB Oct 27, 2018

An elderly Korean mother disappears while waiting on a subway platform in Seoul. The family frantically tries to find her. It’s not a mystery or a thriller. Instead it’s really about a family which has taken their wife and mother for granted for fifty years, but which only learns what she was really like by comparing stories and thinking about the family’s past. As they visit the places she might have gone, including back home to their village, they begin to appreciate how much she did for them and denied herself. And they understand that she never relented on that devotion, in spite of her husband’s frequent absences and her children spreading out in Korea and even to America.

The book is built up of the viewpoints of the children and the father as they suddenly become aware of how their mother/wife got through life. They are really confessions of how they didn’t notice her very much. The book is both sad and touching, and reminds us to look more deeply at those around us. The Korean culture is there, of course, especially as we grow to understand how people changed as they moved from country villages to the big cities. But there is little here that we cannot see in our own lives, in our own history, in our own mothers. The family similarities are much greater than the differences.

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StarGladiator
Apr 22, 2018

This is a powerful writer whose style is somewhat haunting, flavored with attenuated levels of bittersweetness. This literary work may not appeal to everyone, but as someone who grew up motherless, I have always been fascinated with excellent fiction on mothers and motherhood, and this novel covers the upbringing in rural Korea, as each child moves on to the big city, and the memories of their missing mother. Poignant.

s
sgcf
Mar 26, 2017

I read this book because of my son’s up-coming wedding to a lovely South Korean which will take place in her home city, and I wanted a taste of local colour and culture before going there. The book is satisfyingly full of that, brimming with references to various foods, the environment, customs and rituals. Divided into four parts with each narrated in a different character’s voice (including the irksome 2nd person point of view), I found the plot was not compelling for me. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t get beyond the very stilted writing style and soap opera sentimentality of the first three parts. But then – redemption – in part four, which shifts into something evocatively beautiful. She poses the question: What happens to all the things we did in the past? and the book’s theme clarifies. Unfortunately the epilogue reverts to syrupy emotionalism. It may have sold over a million copies in its native South Korea, but it felt like it had lost something in the translation.

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miaone
Aug 13, 2016

Embarrassingly badly written. Predictable. Shallow. How did anything this pathetic ever get published?

CatherineG_1 Dec 19, 2015

Also read at Unionville's Book Club. A great story to read on your own or with a group. Fabulous story lines for discussion.

s
Sion2255
May 05, 2015

Certainly, you can think about your own mom more often after read this book. Very unique way of writing the story.

c
CL_BookClub
Jan 16, 2015

For most in our book club, this title was a bit more challenging, as the narrative changes from different characters and shifts in tense. I think the shift in tense made it difficult to follow the story. After discussing the book, the pieces started to come together as each member of the group noticed some things that others did not. Not as easy of a read for some, but great for a group effort and discussion.

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Zackster
Sep 18, 2013

If you only read one more book in your life, make it this one. This book was written for everyone that ever had a Mom, male or female, it is truly beautiful, I could not put it down, I would read it again and again, absolutely loved it.

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