Author: Min Jin Lee
Published: February 2017
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Pachinko is the first book of a saga featuring generations of a Korean family. The first two chapters feature the story of how Sunja's parents got married. Afterwards, the real story begins. Sunja lives in a boarding house with her mother during a time in which Japan controls Korea. She falls in love with an older man and gets pregnant with his child. This leads a visitor at the boarding house to marry her to save her from shame. Unfortunately, Sunja must abandon her mother to move with her new husband's family. Pachinko shows us the journey of Sunja and her new family as they fight the hardships such as poverty and the political changes imposed on them by the Japanese.
I listened to the audio book audition of Pachinko. The first two chapters move slower than my tastes, but the overall themes make up for this. This book covers issues that even our American society needs to examine such as prejudice and identity. This book feels realistic and I feel that I can relate to some of the character's experiences despite never having to go through most of their challenges. Readers must realize that the problems in Pachinko can happen anywhere and not just in Korea. The characters experience loss, disappointment, shame and rejoicing. Sunja is a caring mother, but she too has made mistakes. But the best part about her is her ability to recover from them. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to the sequel. How did you like the book? Let me know in your comments below.