I read a couple of books this week and enjoyed them.
Girl Uprooted By Lena Lee
Girl Uprooted is a memoir about a woman who grew up internationally mobile. Her father was a Korean diplomat and they moved every three years. She lived in Korea, Malaysia, USA, France, Norway and went to University in UK. Not only did she have to deal with the constant moves with new schools, new culture, new friends, but she was also dealing with trying to uphold and relate to her parents’ culture and all things Korean. A true Third Culture Kid. It is hard enough to cope with all the changes but when your passport culture is constantly creating contradictions, it becomes hard to know who you are or what to do.
Lena Lee tried to be a good Korean girl and live up to her father’s expectations but she was not a product of his environment. She didn’t understand what made him tick. The culture he grew up in was very strict and almost oppressive. She was used to running around New Jersey doing the teenage girl stuff Westerners indulge in. When she goes back to Korea, she feels like she is in prison, constantly studying and controlled.
For me the best part of the book was her “aha” moment when she googled frequent moves during childhood and depression. I had a similar “aha” moment when I realized I was not crazy and not the only person in the world who had difficulty relating to my passport country. Moving is hard enough, but moving countries, cultures, schools, and languages can really confuse a child. Plus in some of her countries he also had the racism card to deal with. People have different coping mechanisms. Some are alcohol and drug abuse, some are god, some are sports, some are withdrawal.
As we get older and start to understand who we are and what it means to be a Third Culture Kid, it does start to get easier. Lena Lee eventually found her center and as she states in her book, writing her book helped her a lot. When I wrote my book I found it very cathartic.
This book is well written, easy to read and relatable.
Pick up a copy!
Another book I read recently was
Black Cake By Charmaine Wilkerson
This one was fiction about a girl who grew up on the “Islands”, somewhere in the Caribbean. It is really a mystery. The girl’s mother disappears when she is young and she is left with her father who is constantly racking up gambling debts. When she is forced to marry a rich man in order to save her father, the man drops dead at the wedding reception. She flees the scene and everybody assumes she killed him. From then on she is on the run looking over her shoulder. There are lots of twists and turns, some good, some bad. Some unbelievable.
It is easy to read and moves along quickly. I read it in one sitting. It starts out in the mid 1950’s and goes to present day. The girl’s father was ethnic Chinese and her mother was African. Apparently there were a lot of Chinese who settled in Jamaica and other islands. The Chinese arrived as indentured servants around the mid 1800s. In the 1960’s the Chinese owned land and shops but endured racial tensions.
The Black Cake is a traditional fruit cake made for special occasions. The recipe is included at the back of the book.