Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Author : Cho Nam-Joo, Jamie Chang (Translator)

I honestly don’t know how to put my feelings into words here. Focusing on the difficulties faced by a working woman in South Korea, this book follows Kim Jiyoung from her days as a child up to her life as a mother. I’ve got to admit, the style of the book took me by surprise as the whole story is phrased like an observational review which is a format that grows in its relevance as a reader figures out that the entire novel (spanning merely 140 pages) is basically a report on Kim Jiyoung’s life prepared by her psychiatrist.

I was all set on giving this book four stars until I read the final chapter and no, a mind blowing plot twist wasn’t what made me change my mind. From the constant advice to act more “ladylike” to snide remarks from the own women in her family, this story does a fantastic job in representing how prejudice works in different ways to undermine the sacrifices made by women to justify their independence.

Besides brining topics such as workplace harassment and intersectional feminism into light, this book also takes on exploring how cycles of generational trauma effects families even under a seemingly progressive household. There are no explicitly “evil” people here.

Instead every character in this book is the product of the ingrained notions and values inherited from their own environment which just goes on to show how deeply rooted sexism is in our society.

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