Politics and romance in S. Korea

book

Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

The two main characters are quite different women. Jisun has had a privileged life, although not much of a loving family life.  In rebellion against her father, she joins an underground activist group.  Her best friend, Namin, comes from a poor, hard-working family and is struggling through college at the Seoul National University in the hope that she will be able to offer her family a better life.  The two main male characters are Sunam, a student trying to join the prestigious Circle, and Juno, Jisun’s conniving brother.

The story takes place in the 70’s and the author does a very good job of describing the hopes and fears of the young generation in South Korea at that time. There were those who rebelled and protested the harsh working conditions and there were those who strived to make the right connections so they could move upward.  The living conditions for many made it very difficult to break out of their dismal prospects.  While politics play a big part in the book, it’s not heavy handed and the author smoothly blends it into the story.  I became engrossed in the story of these young people, their loves, their families and their friendships.  The author offers excellent insight into the moral dilemmas faced by her characters and the choices that each makes.  I felt the ending sort of petered out but I did enjoy this book as a whole and recommend it.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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