Thursday, August 13, 2015

Re Jane

I found this book on the new books shelf at the library. I admit that I liked the bright color and I love the name Jane so why not pluck this book from the shelf and check it out.

It was quite different that what I had in mind! This book is a retelling of Jane Eyre from a Korean perspective.  And the title is not Regarding Jane. Re is Jane's last name...which can be pronounced EE or Lee.  So I was hooked. As many of you know our youngest son, Charles, is married to Nancy, who is Korean American. Her parents immigrated to the US in the early 80s. She was raised in Connecticut and she and Charles met while they were teaching English in China.  Americans tend to lump all Asians together but that would be a big mistake.  Koreans have their own culture with different foods, celebrations and mind sets. I admit that when Charles and Nancy were first married I did not take into consideration that they came from very different cultures but over the years I have come to appreciate the fact that whenever two cultures marry, there will be adjustments. We laugh in our family and say that not only is Nancy Korean, she is a Yankee and that is a different culture as well!:)

Re Jane opens as Jane, a recent college graduate is toiling away in her uncle's grocery store in Flushing. It is the early 2000s and jobs in the financial world are hard to come by. Her uncle does not appreciate her help or her suggestions on ways to improve the store. In fact, she is a burden to her uncle. He has taken her in after her mother died. Her father was an American and she knows nothing about him. The family tells her he was a GI stationed in Korea. It is a topic that is not broached at all. Despairing of ever getting out of Flushing and its tight Korean community, Jane takes a job as an au pair to Devon, the precocious Chinese girl who has been adopted by the well to do  Mazer -Farleys.  Brooklyn is very different from Flushing and Jane feels lost in the vegan, feminist world of this family where mom Beth Mazer rules the roost with an iron hand.  Over time she feels drawn to Ed Farley and that friendship turns to romance. Overwhelmed by guilt, Jane takes off  with her family for her grandfather's funeral in Seoul. There she meets more of her family and decides she will stay in Korea, where she is just another Korean and no one knows her shameful background. However she does learn more about her father and realizes that Korea is not where she belongs either. She goes back to America to face her problems and in doing so, matures into a woman who can stand on her own two feet.

I really enjoyed this book as it helped me to understand the Korean culture on a deeper level. I will be on the look out for more books by Patricia Park!


Terri D said...

Thanks for the review!!

Arlene said...

I went to the library today and found several that I had on my wish list. That makes for a happy day for a reader.

Mari said...

Thanks for the review -sounds good!

doodles n daydreams said...

This sounds like an interesting book. My son is married to a Chinese girl and they live in Japan, so quite a lot of culture shock there for them to deal with - but of course they do :) It certainly makes you aware and conscious that 'all Asians' are not the same.


Arlene said...

Yes Diana....I have learned many things since Nancy joined our family. Nancy was often mistaken for being Chinese when they taught in China and as a result she did not get the respect that the "white" teachers enjoyed. I guess that shocked me! We are going to Georgia tomorrow to celebrate Audrey's 100 days...a Korean baby party! I have two cakes to make and take!!