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on 26 October 2015
This is a heartbreakng story which must be told. There are many horrific atrocities that happened in WW2 that have been highlighted and this is yet another one. The men that took part in this would have wives and daughters now. I wonder if they have a conscience about the way these women were treated.
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on 25 June 2017
I knew nothing about the Japanese "comfort women" and found this story both moving and horrifying. The author's historical research has been used to record the shame and suffering of thousands of young Korean woman, some as young as 13, who spent the war years being raped and brutalised by Japanese soldiers and who were slaughtered when the Japanese retreated.
William Andrews writes in the first person from the perspective of a young Korean woman adopted by an American family who wants to discover her roots and though this is not a new theme, it is sympathetically and convincingly handled by the author.
This book made me angry, sad and filled with admiration for the strength and dignity that the main characters displayed. Read it and recommend it. This story stands alone but has history that must never be forgotten and how is it possible that, even now, the Japanese government has never acknowledged or apologised for these terrible war crimes.
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on 12 April 2017
What a wonderfully sad story.. I didn't know of this atrocity until I read this book. What brave women they were and what a cruel cruel world we live in.. This story of a grand mother showing her grand daughter her Korean history is beautifully sad but poignant. It has made me want to learn more about the history of Korea.. Fabulous book..
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on 5 July 2017
This is an excellent fictional story based on facts. Anna, a Korean adopted as a baby by an American couple, following the death of her adoptive mother whom she misses greatly, travels with her adoptive father to the orphanage in Seoul to meet her birth mother only to be told that she had died giving birth to Anna. However, she is accosted by a woman who turns out to be her grandmother, Hong Jae-Hee who recounts the story of her life, much of which revolves around the inhuman treatment of young girls by the Japanese army in occupation during WW2 and the subsequent feelings of shame and degradation which the survivors carried with them for the rest of their lives, which could have been eased had the Japanese government ever had the decency to admit the girls were forced and had no choice in the matter and had publicly apologized unconditionally to them. There is more to this story which has relevance to today's situation in Korea - read it and find out for yourself.
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on 18 April 2017
WOW! What a shocking rollercoaster of a read! A book that should be read by all as the truth should be known. Bless the girls who were forced to become comfort women and who have never been truely forgiven for a life they did not volunteer for! READ IT but have the tissues ready. Thank you for helping to show some of the shocking truths! A MUST READ!! 10/10
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on 19 June 2017
I thought I was fairly knowledgeable about history but this disturbing and well-written novel concerned a piece of the past about which I knew virtually nothing. The exploitation of Korea and its people by the Japanese was shocking and brutal and the Americans did not come out well either. Drawing the parallel between the way the two sets of soldiers behaved was a clever move.Telling the story through one of the 'comfort women's' experiences is effective and extremely moving. I found this very hard to put down, and had a real lump in my throat at the end. The fact that it was written by a man rather than a woman made it all the more telling. This is a novel which more should be aware of. As well as documenting what happens in war it helps to explain the situation in Korea in a way that is easily understood. I will certainly be recommending it to others.
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on 13 July 2017
I write this with tears in my eyes having just finished this brilliant heartbreaking book. What broke me were the the facts at the end of the book that showed that through all their suffering these brave stoic women have never had a full apology from the Japanese. If I ever go to Seoul I will be with these ladies in front of the embassy joining them in their fight for justice.
Thank you Mr Andrews for a wonderful read, a history lesson but above all treating these women throughout your book with the dignity they so deserve.
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on 6 May 2017
I knew nothing about this subject and was shocked and horrified. It doesn't seem right to say I enjoyed it but I could not put it down. An excellent read. I have only given it 4 stars because I did not warm to Anna from start to finish and wonder if it could have been written without her character.
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on 3 July 2017
Absolutely brilliant book. Finally a writer who knows that a good story does not depend in describing to the enth detail the colour of a dress or the cut of a suit! You were carried along that I can tell you in a year's time I will swear I saw this as a film. So intrigued by the history I will find out more about Korea. Do read it....Great book and the characters are believable and human.
Cannot praise it enough. I shall read more of William Andrews....
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on 17 July 2017
I read this book on holiday and couldn't stop telling my husband about it as I went along so there's at least one other person I've enlightened about the shameful treatment of Korean women by the Japanese in the second World War - although the Americans don't get off lightly either.
The author tells us that the book is fictional but based on well researched historical events and he was apparently inspired by his Korean daughter to tell the story of these women who were taken as young as 13 years old to be sex slaves of the Japanese army. The notes at the end tell of the surviving 'comfort women' as they were called - now in their 70s and 80s - still endeavouring to have their suffering fully acknowledged and repented of by the Japanese government.
Interesting on the level of Korean history as well as highlighting the awful experiences of the girls, this was an easy read only in the sense that it grips from the very beginning until the end - the torment described is, of course, anything but easy to read although it is handled in as sensitive a manner as possible while still conveying the horror. I am finding it hard to get it out of my head.
I don't often review books as I find personal taste to be so varied that reviews are often meaningless but William Andrews asks - in the notes at the end of the book - that his readers review this novel and talk about it so that the events depicted will become more widely known and I am very happy to oblige.
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