Marie G. Lee, Author . Beacon $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8070-8388-8

Young adult novelist Lee (Finding My Voice , etc.) explores a Korean-born girl's complicated journey to define her identity in her poignant adult debut. Adopted by a white Minnesota family who tried to quash any curiosity Sarah Thorson might have about her homeland, the directionless 20-year-old drops out of college and enrolls in a Korean-language program in Seoul. As she struggles to fit in, she recognizes her desire to learn about her birth family, and she's shocked to learn that she was abandoned as a baby (she'd been told her parents died in a car accident). With the help of her new boyfriend, Korean-American Doug, who educates her about her homeland and its citizens ("Cut open a Korean and... you'll find: salt and hot red peppers," he tells her over a meal of spicy soup), she goes on a Korean TV show dedicated to finding missing persons. When a woman comes forward, the two begin to form a bond, but a DNA test proves them unrelated. Meanwhile, Lee spins out the parallel story line of Sarah's birth mother: Kyung-Sook had dreams of pursuing a career in Korean folk music, but she fell for an American hippie who abandoned her once she became pregnant. Now 50, Kyung-Sook sees Sarah on TV and comes to Seoul to find her. Lee sidesteps a tender emotional reunion, though, in favor of an honest portrayal of a mother's sacrifice and a daughter's growth. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/21/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-8070-9722-9
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-8070-8389-5
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