Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi

This story is about a young Korean girl named Sookan and her life during the Japanese occupation of Korea. I really enjoyed this story because prior to reading this I really had no idea about what actually happened in this area of the world during this time. I don't feel like the Japanese occupation is something that is covered in school curriculum so I really had no information about it. For me, this book was really emotional to read. At times I was excited and happy that the family had gotten out or had passed through a trying time but then right after that page there was an extremely sad or intense part where they were back to fearing for their lives hoping not to get caught. I cannot imagine being so young and going through these situations. Even going to school was a horrible experience and it seemed to me that Sookan stayed very positive (for what she was put through).
The mos surprising part of the story for me was towards the end when the war is over and the Koreans are celebrating. After the war, everything seems to be getting better for the family. Then, Korea is taken over by Russian communists. However, in the book it did not seemed to be portrayed as a negative thing at first. When I was reading this portion of the story I couldn't believe how happy the Koreans seemed to have the Russian there. What they had gone through was so horrible that even though the they were taken over by the Russians it was still better than what they were living through.
I can definitely see how this book would be perfect for a classroom. Even if it wasn't paired with So Far From the Bamboo Grove I still think it would be very beneficial because it is offering insight into a time in history that many students no very little about.

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