Monday, October 12, 2009

Ten Thousand Sorrows

by Elizabeth Kim

Out of the frying pan and into the fire... that sums up life for this Korean war orphan. A product of an American soldier's conquest, this young child and her mother are shunned by their Korean families and neighbors. They form a tight union of mother and daughter, alone in a world that views them as nonpersons, not worthy of existence. One fateful night, her mother is killed in an act of "honor" by her extended family to cleanse the family blood of her shame, leaving the young girl an orphan.

She spends a brief, though terrifying, sojourn in an orphanage where the children are kept in dirty cages, dying of sickness and malnutrition. She is adopted, though her relief is short-lived, by an Fundamentalist Christian couple and brought to America. Elizabeth (as the couple names her) leaves one life of fear to another. The couple's radical Christian beliefs manifests into abusive behavior that creates an environment of shame and terror.

Only through the birth of her daughter, Lee, is Elizabeth able to confront the horrors that she experienced as a child. An autobiography of hope despite seemingly insurmountable odds and the power of mother-love.


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