Cab Called Reliable

Patti Kim, Author Wyatt Book $18.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-312-15489-9
Ahn Joo Cho is eight when she sees her mother and baby brother enter a cab that pulls away from the Arlington, Va., apartment where the immigrant Korean family lives. Ahn Joo finds a cryptic note telling her to wait patiently, for her mother will come back, and this promise sustains her over the next few years as she cares for her alcoholic and often abusive father and puts up with his young live-in lover. But as time passes and she helps her father with his vending cart on the streets of Washington, D.C., Ahn Joo's bewilderment over her mother's abandonment is reflected in her schoolwork and peer relationships. Kim's sensitive debut novella gives Ahn Joo an appealing vulnerability under a fiercely independent facade. As she yearns for her absent mother, Ahn Joo gives voice to her anguish in stories and poems that allow her to sift through memories of her parents' strained relationship. The growing conflict between Ahn Joo and her earnest but uneducated father eventually unearths a secret that lays to rest many questions about Mrs. Cho's desertion and allows Ahn Joo to understand her father's misery. Several other loose ends are left dangling, however, including an ambiguous child-abuse subplot and an insubstantial ending in which escape is too easily equated with freedom. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/30/1997
Release date: 07/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 156 pages - 978-0-312-19030-9
Open Ebook - 156 pages - 978-1-4668-8593-6
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