Friday Reads: The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

How well do we really know our parents? In Margot Lee’s case, her mother is turning out to be quite a mystery. If you had asked her a few weeks ago, she’d probably have said her mother, Mina Lee, lived a quiet, boring life. Her days filled with working at her consignment clothes booth and evenings alone in the small, rundown apartment in L.A. she’s lived in since Margot was a child. But after finding her mother’s body, in what Margot thinks are suspicious circumstances, she embarks on a journey to unravel the puzzle that was her mother’s life.

Written in alternating viewpoints, the story unfolds both from Margot’s veiw as she finds her descesed mother, and from a young Mina’s, as she leaves South Korea. The juxtaposition of both narrators, as well as the time frames, really made the story for me. The exploration of Mina’s life as an undocumented immigrant in L.A.’s Korea Town was also eye-opening. If you enjoy familial drama mixed with mystery this Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick is for you.

Jooyoun Kim, Nancy. The Last Story of Mina Lee: A Novel. Park Row. 2020.

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