“I’ll Be Right There”, is a coming-of-age story, set in 1980’s South Korea; during the time where student protests and tear-gassing were the norm.
The main character Jung Yoon is an extremely academic young woman, whom recounts her life, which consisted of hardships, including the loss of her mother. We also get a deep understanding of the troubled lives that Jung Yoon’s three university friends also live.
The story starts out when Jung Yoon receives a call from her ex boyfriend; he informs her that their ex university lecturer is unwell in hospital.
The story then goes back in time, and Jung Yoon starts to re-live the past, during the time of her mother’s death, her first love, the strong bond that was made between her now dying lecturer; and the friendships that were formed over mutual unhappiness and seclusion.
The use of European Literature and Religious connotation brings the reader a deeper understanding, through the use of metaphoric language. For example, Professor Yoon firsts greets the class, and gets them thinking by using a story from the Bible as an example, of how they will continue to work their way through life. And he explains that within the story of the rough waters, each and every one of them is Saint Christopher and the child (Jesus).
Yung Joon’s deep interest in literature is cleverly incorporated within the story, through poetry and examples of her favourite writers.
My favourite aspect of this book is that the author describes every character and basic noun in such a beautiful way, that you feel drawn in; and an in-depth picture of South Korea is painted. I found that I also acquired more knowledge of Korean history and culture throughout this text.
I also thought it was very clever to show Myungsuh (Jung Yoon’s first love) thoughts and feelings through journal entries and letter.
Overall, this book is an intense read, and you will be taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
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