Book #29 of 2020 | The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Title: The Island of Sea Women

Author: Lisa See

Thoughts: Wow wow wow. It took me a little while to get into this book (and by a little while I mean the first half of the book) but I’m so glad I stuck with it. My friend Keighley recommended this one to me and now I’m recommending it to all of you! One of my goals this year is to read more books that amplify women’s stories, and especially women’s stories from cultures that aren’t my own. This book does both of those things. It’s part history lesson—taking place in Korea during World War II, Japanese colonialism, and the Korean War—and part homage to the strengths of friendship and the lengths we go to keep it.

Favorite Lines:
“No one picks a friend for us; we come together by choice. We are not tied together through ceremony or the responsibility to create a son; we tie ourselves together through moments. The spark when we first meet. Laughter and tears shared. Secrets packed away to be treasured, hoarded, and protected. The wonder that someone can be so different from you and yet still understand your heart in a way no one else ever will.” (p. 36)

“Our pictures have always told our stories.” (p. 125)

“This was the moment I might have said something that could have made a difference, but I was young, and I still didn’t understand very much. Oh, I understood life and death, but I didn’t yet have a true comprehension of all that could happen between your first and last breaths. This was a mistake I would live with for the rest of my life.” (p. 138)

“Mi-ja put her hands on my cheeks. I couldn’t tell if she was taking in all the changes that hardship had brought to my face or was memorizing it to sustain her until the next time we saw each other. Either way, I felt love passing through her fingers and into my flesh.” (p. 219)

“‘We suffer and suffer and suffer, but we also keep getting up. We keep living. You would not be here if you weren’t brave. Now you need to be braver still.'” (p. 238)

“I thought of her like seafoam—drifting farther and farther from me—and I couldn’t figure out how to change its course.” (p. 326)

Click here to purchase The Island of Sea Women

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