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The story told in ‘Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982‘ by Cho Nam-Joo goes like this.

Kim Jiyoung is thirty-three years old, she has been married for three years, she is a housewife and has a one-year old daughter. One day she starts behaving strangely. Soon she starts assuming the personalities of other people, and it appears that she is not playacting, but she really thinks she is those people. Her husband is worried. The story then takes us into the past to the time Kim Jiyoung was born, we get to know about her parents, about her life as a child, about her time in school and later university, how she grows up into a young woman, her time at work, about the sacrifices she has to make because she is a girl, the same kind of sacrifices her grandmother made, her mother made, and her elder sister made, and how events progress to the present. Are we able to find out what happened and why Kim Jiyoung behaves strangely? You have to read the book to find out.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982‘ is an insightful depiction of contemporary Korean society and family, the challenges, the discrimination and the sexism that Korean women face everyday in a system which is geared against them, the sacrifices they make and how they are taken for granted, and how though it looks like things have changed for the better in recent years, some things never change. If we think about it, it is probably not just about Korean women, but it is really about women everywhere in the world. It is a heartbreaking and haunting book. Through the story, the author Cho Nam-Joo uses actual facts and statistics to critique Korean society and it is very insightful and eye-opening to read. Cho Nam-Joo’s prose is spare and matter-of-fact and it adds to the poignancy of the story.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982‘ is a book to be read and pondered on, on where we are as a society and how far we still have to progress yet.

Have you read ‘Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982‘? What do you think about it?

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