Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo

A bit of a flashback Friday book review from me today, as I have had a hectic few weeks and have just not managed to review ‘Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982’. I picked up this book so I could join in with a Tandem Collective Voices readalong with a number of other book lovers. It was also a chance for me to read something I would not neccessarily have picked up before – and to read a piece of translated fiction.

As soon as I started reading this book, I was fully invested in the life of Kim Jiyoung and her experiences growing up South Korea through the 1980s and the 1990s. This is a powerful piece of fiction that is clearly established in the reality of growing up in this nation. For many of us, it may read like an outdated story but, sadly, it is the reality for many of the women growing up in some of these countries at the time.

As I read it, I became frustrated with the outdated ideas towards women and the role that women were expected to play. But it also had me closely reflecting on the freedom and chances that I have had growing up – my destiny almost defined by geography as much as by my family. And, despite no society being completely without sexism and women still fighting for true equality, there are definitely more advantages for some rather than others.

This is a book that I think all men and women should read. It is certainly enlightening and educational – as it raises questions about the influence of a strongly patriarchal society on the experiences of women, even from the moment they are born.

I really recommend this book.

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