3.5 stars. This was one of those rare cases where an ARC shows up in the mail, the jacket copy piques my interest, and I decide to read the first few pages to see if it’s worth reading. Typically I put the book down, maybe to pick it up later, or maybe not at all. In this case, three days later I’ve finished the book.
This is a gripping, well-paced story about a family plagued by its past and its secrets. The story focuses on Kyung Cho, a man in his late thirties still suffering the emotional pain of an abusive childhood. Kyung is struggling through financial troubles with his own family at the time he’s forced by horrible circumstance to take in his wealthy, nearly-estranged parents.
Kyung is a complex and frustrating character; he’s completely passive for about 80% of the story, but the story is told from his perspective so we get an idea of why he’s so reluctant to take action or speak openly. What I found more frustrating was how desperately every goddamn person is this book needed YEARS of therapy and not one person pursued it, especially Gillian, who kept popping up with her irritating as fuck psych 101 diagnosis of every situation but failed to understand even remotely that her husband was a broken person who was barely functioning.
This is a dark story, and there’s a lot of pain here, but I absolutely felt it was a worthwhile read.