Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's only One, but it's a Good One.

The Fold, by An Na. This was a quick read, but I recommend it for all public and school libraries. Thinking about it this morning, I realized that many of the elements the author uses to show the experiences of a girl in Korean American culture are stereotypical-- she has to work in her family's restaurant but doesn't particularly want to; she is shy and quiet, and she thinks her social barriers are because of her ethnicity instead of her fears; her older sister is perfect, overachieving at college courses, casting a shadow over her; her younger brother wants to grow up to play basketball but worries about his (lack of) height. Summing up the story this way makes it seem like it will be stereotypical and very likely dull. In the story, however, all these details seem perfectly normal and I didn't even notice in context. Although the character has an unrealistically easy time, I feel, of resolving her problems, the author did a wonderful job of portraying a story nearly any girl can relate to-- feeling invisible and shy, worried and uncomfortable in her own skin, and struggling with her relationship with her best friend. Although the characters are said to be high school juniors, they did feel younger, and nothing in the story makes it inappropriate for readers as young as 12 or 13. Please interpret these ramblings as 2 thumbs up, buts and althoughs not withstanding.

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