26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Heartbreaking and Inspiring,
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This review is from: Please Look After Mom (Kindle Edition)
When I first began Please Look After Mom, I was disconcerted with the second-person narrative. It's such a rare mode that I was instantly taken back to those Choose Your Own Adventure books. I decided to stick with it, though, and eventually the awkwardness dissipated for me.
There are five parts to this novel with the POVs as follows: oldest daughter, oldest son, father, mother, oldest daughter. Not all the parts use the second-person narrative, and I came to rather like the changing modes. Not every author and not every topic can pull off the second-person narrative; in fact, I'd go so far as to say few can. Kyung-Sook Shin used the narratives marvelously in order to really bring the reader that much closer, that much more involved to the story and search for mom.
Part of the reason I think I enjoyed this so much is because I'm half Korean, and I could relate to the characters and circumstances rather well. At one point or another in my life so far, I've been every one of those children. Their mother reminded me of my mother, struggling to survive, growing up in a war-torn country but still continuing on, persevering no matter the obstacle. And still, with all she's faced, giving all her love and support, putting her family first regardless of the cost to her.
But let me stress that you don't have to be Korean or know anything about Korea to take something away from Please Look After Mom. Yes, there are Korean dishes and cultural references but those don't define the piece. It's about a mother's love for her children and their revelation that mom is so much more. As the layers are peeled back of just who this woman is, we learn at the same time they do of her spirit and everlasting love as a mother, wife, human being and daughter. It shows a mother with flaws but one who tries to be the best she can be. This book is a dedication to all the mothers who have sacrificed their lives so that we may have a better one. And it's a reminder to demonstrate through words and actions your own heartfelt appreciation and love for mom whenever you can.