November 27, 2020

The Last Story of Mina Lee Review

Title: The Last Story of Mina Lee
Author: Nancy Jooyoun Kim
Type: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3/5

“Movement for her mother was essentially an experience of loss that Margot, American-born, could never imagine.”

Mina Lee is not returning any of her daughters phone calls. Margot decides to hitch a ride with a friend to check on her mother. When she arrives she finds that her mother mysteriously died. Margot searches for answers which also means discovering the history of her mother’s past.

What did I like:
1. Mina Lee came from Korea to the United States. She ends up getting pregnant and has Margot. I liked how the author brought to life the struggle immigrant families face. Margot struggled to honor her Korean heritage and Mina struggled with how her daughter felt more American than Korean.
2. The story had dual timelines and it was done well. I really enjoyed Mina’s sections the most. It was neat to get the perspective of a person coming from another country and what that was like. It made me more interested in the history of Korea, both the North and South.
3. I liked how as the story developed Margot grew to appreciate where she came from. That she can honor both her Korean and American heritage.

What did I not like:
1. The story isn’t super faced paced. I struggled to stay interested. As I said above, I definitely enjoyed Mina’s section more. I found myself wanting to skip over Margot’s character.
2. I wish I could have seen more of Mr Park’s and why we needed to hate him. In a way, he played a pretty big role in the story but we didn’t see him enough. I can’t say much more than that without spoiling.

Overall I thought this was pretty decent. It’s the authors first novel and I am excited to read more of her work.