Precious Silver Chopsticks ISBN: 9781544069968, copyright and written by Mae Adams.
Sub-titled “A true Story of a Korean Noble Family” this autobiography/memoire is written by an eighty-four-year-old Korean woman of considerable intelligence, fortitude and an amazing ability to survive and prosper. She was born in Seoul but raised in a rural mountain village under the old Korean class system by a grandfather of Noble birth now an herbal medicine practitioner and a step-grandmother who was a commoner. The new arrangement was the result of being rejected by her father and abandoned by her patrician, college educated mother because she was a later born female child who, as such, was rated worthless in the mores of the existing Korean system of the time. The grandparents nurtured her for considerable time until mother decided she could be helpful in maintaining her (the mother’s) support. Through the ensuing years, whether living together or apart, Mae became, and continued for the rest of her life, to be largely her mother’s major source. She suffered through several lean years while marrying ‘for convenience’, learning Japanese ways and language as well as the English language, suffering through the Japanese occupation, escape to South Korea and the ensuing Korean War. Finally she was able to meet and marry a U.S. Marine Colonel, gain a college degree in the United States and begin a new commercial endeavor building upon her earlier attained success. Still, she continued to be, one way or another, the basic person upon who everyone seemed to depend.
Discussion: The author has provided a story that memoire-autobiography readers will find poignant and discover themselves to be empathetically resentful at times. They probably will find it inspirational and certainly intriguing. The more practically thinking individual also will discover a wealth of information with respect to Korean historical facts – basic mores of society, eventual co-existence of Shamanism, Buddhism, Korean (a mixture of the two along with Astrology and nature worship), Confucianism, Christianism and some Shintoism from the Japanese influence. Also the topography and more about the Korean ‘Police Action’ which was somewhat of a ‘forgotten’ war for Americans who participated so as to be considered and treated rather similarly to those who served in the unpopular Viet Nam confrontation.
Conclusion: Certainly relieving catharsis for the author and a book of considerable interest for a diverse reading public.
5* Of considerable interest for a diverse reading public.