Synopses & Reviews
Somebodys Daughter is the story of nineteen-year-old Sarah Thorson, who was adopted as a baby by a Lutheran couple in the Midwest. After dropping out of the University of Minnesota, she decides to study in Korea for a summer, more by happenstance than actual design, but as the summer progresses she becomes more and more intrigued by her Korean heritage and eventually embarks on a crusade to find her birthmother. Paralleling Sarahs story is that of Kyung-sook, who was forced by difficult circumstances to let her baby be swept away from her immediately after birth, but who has always longed for her lost child. The two stories are told side by side: Kyung-sooks is the remembrance of her childhood involvement with an American who eventually abandons her when she refuses to have an abortion, while Sarahs is the contemporary story of her deepening involvement with the culture and language of Korea, with Doug, her Korean American classmate, and with her search. These two narratives converge in one poignant moment, when the two women literally pass each other like ships in the night.
"Young adult novelist Lee (Finding My Voice, etc.) explores a Korean-born girl's complicated journey to define her identity in her poignant adult debut. Adopted by a white Minnesota family who tried to quash any curiosity Sarah Thorson might have about her homeland, the directionless 20-year-old drops out of college and enrolls in a Korean-language program in Seoul. As she struggles to fit in, she recognizes her desire to learn about her birth family, and she's shocked to learn that she was abandoned as a baby (she'd been told her parents died in a car accident). With the help of her new boyfriend, Korean-American Doug, who educates her about her homeland and its citizens ('Cut open a Korean and... you'll find: salt and hot red peppers,' he tells her over a meal of spicy soup), she goes on a Korean TV show dedicated to finding missing persons. When a woman comes forward, the two begin to form a bond, but a DNA test proves them unrelated. Meanwhile, Lee spins out the parallel story line of Sarah's birth mother: Kyung-Sook had dreams of pursuing a career in Korean folk music, but she fell for an American hippie who abandoned her once she became pregnant. Now 50, Kyung-Sook sees Sarah on TV and comes to Seoul to find her. Lee sidesteps a tender emotional reunion, though, in favor of an honest portrayal of a mother's sacrifice and a daughter's growth." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A poignant novel of an adopted girl's search for identity by a celebrated Korean-American author.
Adopted by a Midwest couple, 19-year-old Sarah Thorson studies one summer in Korea and eventually embarks on a crusade to find her birth mother. Paralleling Sarah's story, Kyung-sook, a Korean woman, reflects on the child she was forced to give away.
About the Author
Marie Myung-Ok Lee, author of three young adult novels, including Finding My Voice and Saying Goodbye, has received many honors for her writing, among them an O. Henry honorable mention, and both Best Book for Young Adults and Best Book for Reluctant Readers citations from the American Library Association. She is currently a visiting scholar at her alma mater, Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island.