Wow. This was a gem of a read for me. I am so glad I stumbled across this novel. If I were the type to read book descriptions I would have more than likely passed. This is a novel that has strong religious tones. The exact type of novel I avoid. However, this was so much more. This is a novel about acceptance. Acceptance not only of others, but also yourself. It’s a story about finding oneself. It’s a story about looking beyond your past and trying to imagine a future. A future where you find the strength to want to go on. It’s also about forgiveness. Of asking for it, and of accepting it as well. There is just so much contained within these covers of this book.
I really admire Gong Ji-young for not taking this book and trying to turn it into a prettily wrapped happily ever after book, although the reader will surely wish for this to book to end happily. I’m not saying there isn’t a HEA, I’m just saying that sometimes just getting though another day must be enough. As Ji-young points out more than once, “instead of saying you want to die, you should instead be saying you want to live better”.
Here you have a young, beautiful, affluential woman. She’s a professor, a world traveler and a past singing sensation. She comes from a *perfect* family. However, we find out throughout the story that she has not really bothered to enjoy life or to even live for the last 15 years. The woman the world sees couldn’t be further from whom the woman actually is.
As this point the young woman joins her Aunt, a nun, to weekly prison visits of a man on death row. This man makes no excuses for what he has done. He does not deny anything.
All of a sudden both the woman and the man are forced to see the world though someone else’s eyes. Once this occurs, there is no turning back. Suddenly, one must realise that no matter how alone you have felt your entire life, there are others out there in the world as well. Suddenly you must realise that if continue to focus on only yourself and your experiences…well, you are missing out on everyone else’s experiences.
Ji-young has some real zingers of some quotes in this book. Some of what she wrote had a profound effect on me.
This is one book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I won’t forget the characters. I won’t forget the quotes. And I certainly won’t be forgetting the the feelings she evoked or the message that I received. I hope you give this book a chance and feel the same….I so loved it…
Until next time….
ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
Buy it now Our Happy Time by Gong Ji-young