Please Look After Mom

Please Look After Mom

eBook - 2011
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You will never think of your mother the same way after you read this book.

Already an international sensation and a bestseller that has sold over 1.5 million copies in the author's native Korea, Please Look After Mom is a stunning, deeply moving story of a family's search for their missing mother -- and their discovery of the desires, heartaches and secrets they never realized she harbored within.

When sixty-nine-year-old So-nyo is separated from her husband among the crowds of the Seoul subway station, and vanishes, their children are consumed with loud recriminations, and are awash in sorrow and guilt. As they argue over the "Missing" flyers they are posting throughout the city -- how large of a reward to offer, the best way to phrase the text -- they realize that none of them have a recent photograph of Mom. Soon a larger question emerges: do they really know the woman they called Mom?

Told by the alternating voices of Mom's daughter, son, her husband and, in the shattering conclusion, by Mom herself, the novel pieces together, Rashomon-style, a life that appears ordinary but is anything but.

This is a mystery of one mother that reveals itself to be the mystery of all our mothers: about her triumphs and disappointments and about who she is on her own terms, separate from who she is to her family. If you have ever been a daughter, a son, a husband or a mother, Please Look After Mom is a revelation -- one that will bring tears to your eyes.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, 2011
ISBN: 9780307359216
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Kim, Chi-Young

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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.

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.

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.

eringate Jun 14, 2015

This was a pretty easy read and I've been trying to read more and more that are outside my 'usual' reads. After a while, however, the point of the story which is "don't take your mom for granted" felt like it was shoved down the reader's throats.

May 05, 2015

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

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.

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.

quagga Aug 22, 2013

Four voices narrate this haunting story: eldest daughter Chi-hon, eldest son Hyong-chol, the husband, and lastly, we hear from the missing woman. Small details of domestic life make the setting richly present. It's a story of family relationships, replete with regrets over things said and not said - a reminder that we often take our parents and spouses for granted. In addition to these universal themes of guilt and responsibility and love, I like Gary Shteyngart's astute observation (quoted on the jacket) that this book addresses "how the movement of people from small towns and villages to big cities can cause heartbreak and even tragedy."

AlysAvery Aug 03, 2013

While those unfamiliar with Korean culture can expect to learn quite a bit along the way, this story transcends cultural boundaries. This family could be any family faced with an incredibly difficult situation.

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