Gathering of Pearls [NOOK Book]

Overview


The conclusion to the remarkable story of the young Korean heroine of Year of Impossible Goodbyes and Echoes of the White Giraffe. Sookan travels to the United States to begin her freshman year of college where she faces the difficulties of leaving her family and beginning a new life in a foreign land.

Sookan struggles to balance her new life as a college freshman in the United States with expectations from her family at home in ...

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Gathering of Pearls

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Overview


The conclusion to the remarkable story of the young Korean heroine of Year of Impossible Goodbyes and Echoes of the White Giraffe. Sookan travels to the United States to begin her freshman year of college where she faces the difficulties of leaving her family and beginning a new life in a foreign land.

Sookan struggles to balance her new life as a college freshman in the United States with expectations from her family at home in Korea.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sookan, the young Korean heroine of Year of Impossible Goodbyes and Echoes of the White Giraffe, has arrived in the United States to attend a women's college at the start of Choi's latest novel, set in 1954-1955. Having survived the war in her homeland, Sookan now faces the challenges of learning English and adapting to a new culture while keeping up with her studies and making friends during her freshman year. She works harder than anyone else and endears herself to her classmates, roommate and professors. But the pressures of too much work, combined with homesickness, lead to exhaustion-and a more relaxed approach to the college experience. When she receives bad news from her family in Seoul, she struggles to ``turn her pain into pearls of wisdom and understanding,'' as her mother has always urged. Despite some poignant scenes, this novel lacks the emotional depth and clear, exciting story lines of its predecessors. Sookan plays an almost martyrly role here, and the first-person narration shows her continually praising herself or being praised by others for her kindness and good deeds; her strength and spunk are conspicuously absent. Admirers of the earlier works may find this pristine, cheery world rather dull. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7-12-This novel completes the autobiographical trilogy begun in Year of Impossible Goodbyes (Dell, 1993) and continued in Echoes of the White Giraffe (Houghton, 1993). Here the story begins with Sookan's arrival in White Plains, New York, in 1954 to start college, where she is the only Korean student at a small Catholic school for women. She confronts all the problems of adjustment normal to freshmen, plus the added burdens of absorbing a foreign culture and earning extra money. It is easy to fall in love with this gentle girl. She combines a delicate sweetness with a fierce determination to fulfill her dreams. She works hard to produce her own blend of cultures and values-she delights in the new, and tempers it with the traditional. She also attempts to maintain a correspondence with family members struggling to rebuild their lives in post-war Korea, but they see her as a deserter. Only her mother understands her yearnings and conflicts. The soul-searching quality of Choi's prose is at least as important to this beautiful novel as the plot line. It is not essential to have read the previous books to appreciate this one, but its full impact will be diminished for those unfamiliar with Sookan's experiences growing up in her war-torn homeland. On the other hand, those who responded to the suspense, hardship, and emotional tensions of the first two novels may be disappointed by the quiet, introspective mood of this intimately rendered narrative. However, readers who share in this emotional journey with Sookan will grow along with her in wisdom.-Margaret Cole, Oceanside Library, NY
Hazel Rochman
In this sequel to "The Year of Impossible Goodbyes" (1991) and "Echoes of the White Giraffe" (1993), Sookan Bak has left her Korean home to attend a Catholic women's college in New York in 1954. This semiautobiographical account of her freshman year is very much a docu-novel about the new scholarship girl caught between two cultures, trying to fit in. Everything is overarticulated. Sookan and her friends speak like therapists ("You need to live your own life"). She writes long letters home about her cultural conflicts ("Here they do not place so much emphasis on patience, humility"), and her first-person narrative repeats all the analysis. Mostly, the U.S. is better than Korea, freer for the individual, though she does come to see that sometimes her American friends feel like outsiders and have problems with their families' expectations, just as she does. The last section of the book is the most immediate: her beloved mother dies, and Sookan is not told till long after the funeral. Her grief is heartfelt. We feel her distance from home.
From the Publisher

"The soul-searching quality of Choi's prose is at least as important to this beautiful novel as the plot line. . . .Readers who share in this emotional journey with Sookan will grow along with her in wisdom." School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547562407
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/26/1994
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 503,407
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 107 KB

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2001

    A magnificent book

    this book was outstanding! I could not put it down. It is about a Korean girl who goes through so many hardships during her freshman year at an American college.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Absolutely Fantastic!

    Love the story and the books! Well-written, historic depiction of the various struggles throughout life as a Korean.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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