The Last Story of Mina Lee is a beautiful narrative that depicts the timeless struggles of mothers and daughters from all over the world. This story follows Margot Lee as she begins to grapple with the sudden death of her mother, whom she had grown somewhat estranged from in her early adult life. As Margot begins preparations for her mother’s funeral, previously hidden details of her mother’s life come to light as Margot begins to piece together the jarring life her mother lived before Margot’s birth and during her early childhood.
The points of view shift between Margot in the present day and her mother Mina Lee as she traveled to the United States from South Korea and creates a life for herself and Margot. This narrative creates a stunning portrait of the secret lives of both mothers and daughters and the consequences these secrets can hold. Mina and Margot’s story also display the gripping reality of immigrants within the United States and how difficult the choice to migrate and its consequences can be.
This novel is a stunning work of diversity that implores readers to consider race, gender, class and what identity truly means. The conclusion is heartwarming and will leave readers with a sense of curiosity regarding the true identity of their loved ones and the struggles that they went through to make it where they are today.
The Last story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. Park Row Books, September 2020.
Reviewer bio: My name is Shaylee Morris and I am a currently a university student with a passion for reading and a desire to begin my own writing.
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