Christine Hyung-Oak Lee
This is the story of a young woman’s troubled life told by her now much less-troubled self. I recommend the book due to the quality of Christine Hyung-Oak Lee’s writing and how she is able to share the experiences of her stroke at age thirty-three. While the effects of all brain injuries and diseases are not the same, the mental, psychological, and physical experiences she lived through are similar to those of others. She also addresses the life-changes and challenges of those who are caregivers to this population of people who are changed in invisible ways.
Lee weaves into the story the experiences of her parents as survivors of the Korean War and then as refugees and how this, in turn, affected her life; what it is like to not be assimilated into a culture that had been believed to be more open to differences. She also inserts information about brain function and plasticity, as a good novelist does, which enhances the story and keeps it moving. Her book reads like a novel.
There are many descriptive passages which I have underlined which I am tempted to excerpt, but they are much better read within the context of the story. The story of understanding who she was and why, the story of how she evolved into who she is, and the process of accepting the influences on her life and who she has become. We are a product of our experiences, our memories and emotions of those experiences, and how we handle them. Well-told stories which engage us, have the potential to broaden our understanding beyond the limitations of our own experiences.