“We gathered around the table with bowls of rice cake soup.” • Oh my heart. Wh…

“We gathered around the table with bowls of rice cake soup.” 💙

Oh my heart. Why did I feel so much ache while reading this? I read it in one sitting as I couldn’t put it down. Mother daughter stories get to me. Korean mother daughter stories can be so painful, it sears me. My mom passed away 13 years ago and the ache and hole is still so great that I can hardly even acknowledge the pain in fear that it will consume me completely. Seeing the handwriting and words written from mother to daughter in this memoir reminded me so much of how my mom would write to me. Oh how I wish I had a bundle of letters written from her hand. But moving past my own experience of the memoir, my heart hurt so much for 15 year old Eun Ji and felt compassion for 19 year old brother who has to take care of a teenage sister while trying to start his life in college. It’s an impossibly unfair situation and one that baffled me because the mom could have let dad go pursue his lucrative career and stayed with her daughter. I experienced a multitude of feelings about the situation! Koh shares her mother’s letter with us and shares some intimate history of her family, taking us from Japan to Jeju Island to modern day Seoul. In choosing her words and what to share with us, we get a sense of how she must have felt about her mother’s absence. Koh’s prose is lyrical and beautiful but still packs a punch. It’s no surprise she’s a poet and I can’t wait to read her poetry! I loved hearing thisisejkoh speak yesterday through an event hosted by the UCSF Center for Asian Pacific Studies that was open to the public! 💙



6 thoughts on ““We gathered around the table with bowls of rice cake soup.” • Oh my heart. Wh…”

  1. Thank you for opening yourself to the book & sharing your words with the world. Moved by your experiences & I hope you continue to share with all of us. Sending love 🤍

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