Friday, August 12, 2011

Girl in Translation – Jean Kwok

This isn’t a spoiler, and I do think you should read this book.
There are a million ways I cannot relate to this character and her journey, but there are a million ways also that I do. No, I have no idea whatsoever how it feels to go to a school where I have trouble understanding the language of my teachers. No, I have no idea how it feels to leave that school each day and work with my mother in a factory until late at night for pennies an hour. And no, I have never killed a roach in my kitchen or feared that I might die of the cold in my home in the winter. I can’t imagine.
But what I do know is that being a teenager was tough. It was wonderful and I have some great memories, but it was a time of transitioning. It was a time when I had to translate my relationships because friends failed me and friends came through for me. I failed people and came through for people. I made tough decisions and some of them were wrong. I loved people who loved me back and I loved people who didn’t. I understand that Kimberly had trouble being a friend and growing up. So did I.
I get very attached to books if you didn’t know already. At the time that I should have finished this book, I couldn’t. I stopped for about four nights. Four nights that I was dealing with some hurt my friends were going through at the same time that I was going through the excitement of being offered a new career. And for four nights I knew that when I picked up that book Kimberly was going to make a decision. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to handle the decision she was making and move on with her. You see, the funny thing about books is that you can stop and disagree and refuse to accept the decision for a night or four. You can’t do that in real life.
So when I decided to stay up until late in the night and finish the book I knew that I might not like the outcome. I don’t want to spoil it so I will leave you with the last quote. And it was a perfect last sentence for me. For my real life and for my journey with this fictional, yet so familiar, Kimberly.
“Then I took a deep breath, got off the bed, and opened the door.”

1 comment:

  1. Katy! I have no words to express the chill that went up my spine reading that last quote. Thanks for posting!