The only time we can realize the real value of a person in our life is when we finally lose them. Painful yet so true. Why do we have to endure a phase of suffering to finally reach that realization.
This is one of the greatest ironies of life exemplified by my latest read, Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin.
A few weeks ago, I was forced to utilize my vacation leave credits . Rather than forfeiture of vacation opportunities, I chose to take time off from work even though I have no errands to attend and money to spent. 😀 I don’t want to bore myself staying home. So even with a screaming empty wallet, I went malling with my friend, Anne. Whenever I’m with Anne, we never failed to drop by our favorite Fully Booked or Powerbooks. Bookstores are like a heaven of ice cream and potato chips for us. We can waste our time in a bookstore for a day and I believe that if only salary was not an issue, we would love to work in bookstores.
Of the many books that were offered to me like candy, I decided to purchase Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. Why this book? I also don’t know. The novel was written by a female South Korean and its setting evolved to that beautiful country that interests me over the past weeks. Incidentally, this is the first Korean literature that I was able to read.
The story started when Park So-nyo, a mother and wife, has gone missing in the company of her husband in the busy and crowded Seoul subway station. The entire book went as a recollection of the sacrifices that Park So-nyo has to silently endure as she is struggling to build a better life for her children, Hyong-Chol, Chi-hon and the youngest unnamed daughter.
Each chapter was narrated by each child and the husband who regretfully admitted that he gave nothing but a miserable life to a generously selfless wife. One chapter however provided Park So-nyo’s own account of her life that somehow gave me some confusions.
The plot of the novel may resemble the pattern of an intense Filipino or even a Korean drama series. However, Shin used an approach that made the story capture the hearts of the readers. She crafted the story in the eyes of every negligent child who never realized the greatness of their own mothers.
The novel had the power to leave trails of emotional pinches in my heart. As each child discovered the hidden sacrifices of their mother, it pained, pitied and made me think of how many more heoric Park So-nyo embraced the unfathomable sacrifices of motherhood.
Were the children successful in finding Park So-nyo and finally reuniting their family? I’ll never reveal the conclusion of the story. All I can say is that the ending provides symbolical passages and representations that will haunt the readers.
Would I recommend the book? Shin’s work is a masterpiece. Hence, I would recommend everyone to purchase and read the book. It’s a decent literary investment that will make you never look at your mom the same way again.