Thursday, April 29, 2010
The Fold by An Na
I bought this book a while ago at my bookstore, for some reason I put it on my shelf and forgot about it. About a month ago I saw the bright green cover and grabbed it to read on my break. The Fold is about a high school student named Joyce who is faced with the dilemma of whether or not to accept plasic surgery from her aunt to change the shape of her eyes. The idea of Korean women getting the fold put into their eyes, so that they might look more Caucasian is not something that was new to me. I can remember writing a paper in my freshman writing class at NYU about an MTV special I had seen on the topic hosted by Su Chin Pak (who is awesome!) I also recently watched the surprisingly awesome show, Jessica Simpson's Price of Beauty, where she went to Japan and met with a woman who was considering the surgery.
So while the surgery might not be national news, it is talked about in pop culture, especially on MTV. The book was great. Joyce was kind of aggravating sometimes, but the author more than made up for a lackluster main character with awesome supporting characters. My favorite was Joyce's sister Helen, who throughout the course of the book goes through a huge transformation of her own. The whole family is effected by both Joyce and Helen's dilemmas and that is what I loved most about this novel, it's description of family.
A lot of YA novels leave out important stuff that every day, real life teens experience. There is a great post on what's missing in YA at http://stephsureads.blogspot.com/2010/04/whats-missing-in-ya-lit-contemporary.html who is one of the best bloggers out there. There was also a recent NY Times article about parents in YA literature and how they mostly fit ridiculous sterotypes, there just arent any YA books with normal families. Now, I know that isn't true, and YA lit with well rounded families do exist, but they are far and few between. And while I wouldn't necessarily say that Joyce's family is completely normal, they are well rounded and realistic, and this is a breath of fresh air. I love reading about real families and the struggles they go through, and An Na does a great job of telling the story of this family.