This review reveals some important plot details. Read at your own risk...
book is about Japanese-occupied Korea during World War II. It was a
side of World War II that I'd never thought much about (if ever?). It
gives the perspectives of two siblings, a boy and a girl. I also liked
learning more about the kamikaze.
Part-way through the book, I
was convinced that Tae-yul (the brother) was going to die. Tae-yul's
sections were always given in present tense while Sun-hee (the sister)
always spoke in past tense. To me, this indicated that Tae-yul wasn't
alive when the war was over, so he couldn't speak about it from a past
point of view. Combined with the fact that the title of the book is
"When My Name was Keoko" (which is Sun-hee's Japanese name), and I was
sure that my theory was right.
Of course, I loved it that I was
wrong because it made for such a happy and surprise reunion, but then
I'm still confused why the author varied the voices in this way? Was she
just using a simple method to make them sound different? If that's the
case, that's really disappointing.
I was really grateful for the
author's note at the back of the book. I felt like the end of the story
really left some loose ends (particularly in regards to Uncle), but the
author's note talks about how the Kim family probably wouldn't have been
able to be reunited until maybe as late as the year 2000, what with
Communism and the division of North and South Korea. This, of course,
opens up a whole new topic that could have been explored in an entirely
This review was written before the birth of this blog.