Elizabeth was dumped in an orphanage in Seoul . After some time, she was lucky enough to be adopted by an American couple. But when she arrived in America she found herself once again surrounded by fanaticism and prejudice.
Elizabeth's mother had always told her life was made up of ten thousand sorrows, and, supported by her loving daughter, and by a return to her Buddhist faith, she finally found a way to saviour those joys, as well as the courage to exorcise the demons of her past.
...... outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1):- On the night Omma died, it seemed as if the land of Morning Calm held its breath in disbelief at the horror visited upon its children.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 87):- Fear ruled my life. I was afraid of my parents. I was afraid of God and of hell. I was afraid of the kids at school who whispered about me and giggled. I was afraid I'd get sent back to the orphanage. I was afraid of going to sleep. I was afraid of the glow-in-the-dark head of Christ wearing the crown of thorns hanging in the hallway.
KEEP IT OR NOT?:- Not. I'll be passing this on to a friend who has a particular interest in this genre.
Here I again, the 6th time I've attempted this review, it really is proving so difficult to put my thoughts down without sounding somewhat callous.
To be honest I found myself questioning several of the statements that Elizabeth made in the book and would question her recall of several events. I also cannot understand her adult self's preoccupation with certain matters which, along with her belief that "all Korean mothers are amazing examples of uncomplaining self-sacrifice", I found frustrating.
That said, I had a great deal of empathy with the child Elizabeth who grew up not knowing who she really was, hating the way she looked, believing that "Whether in Korea or America (her) face was wrong. In Korea (her) eyes were too American; in America they were too Asian" and, "mimicking without understanding a music (her adopted father insist she learn the piano), a language and a life that was not (her) own."
Though told mainly through Elizabeth's words and poetry there are also occasional insights from her daughter Leigh which I find just as telling and in some aspects possibly more truthful. Ten Thousand Sorrows is an interesting read in that, if nothing else, it is a great argument for those who believe children should only be adopted by families who share the same ethnicity, religious and cultural backgrounds.
THE 35th book read in my 100+ Reading Challenge, this was a charity shop buy.