Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Step From Heaven (review)

4/5 stars

A Step From Heaven (Goodreads | Amazon) is a lovely little audiobook I stumbled upon in my library.  This book was nearly perfect and though I wanted it to be longer the slice of immigrant life it presented was just enough to leave me longing for more.  Sometimes it's better for books to leave you loving their characters and wanting more than to over-tell a story.

Young Ju is only four when her family moves from a fishing village in Korea to the United States.  Since she is so young she doesn't understand when her family talks about Mi Gook (America).  Because of the glorious stories she thinks they're leaving their home to go to heaven.

But Young Ju quickly discovers that America is not heaven.  We get little tidbits of her life growing up, being sent to school where she doesn't speak English and the teacher doesn't speak Korean, both of her parents working all the time and ultimately her family struggling to stay together.

The story feels true to life, painting the move to America as neither wholly good or wholly bad.  It makes their life difficult, especially Young's father who turns to alcohol as a coping mechansim, but also gives Young Ju an opportunity to hopefully become more than just a fisherman's wife.  Moving to America is a balance between hardship and hope, and A Step From Heaven portrays that beautifully.

The narration for this book is beautiful and spot on.  It captures Young's voice and tells her story without intruding.  Highly recommended.

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