This story is narrated by Korean child, Young Ju Park. She is five years old when her family decides to immigrate to the United States and at first Young Ju is excited. Mi Gook – the Korean word for America, sounds like heaven to Young Ju, and in fact, the child becomes convinced that Mi Gook is heaven. When she and her family arrive in America and Young Ju finds out that the United States is far from heaven she is bitterly disappointed. As she grows up, Young Ju deals with learning English, making friends, the birth of her brother (whom her father pays much more attention to than her) and her struggle to remain true to her Korean heritage while also becoming a real American girl. As her father's sexism, depression, alcoholism and violent behaviour increase over the next thirteen years, Young Ju struggles to be the child her parents want and to fit in with American society at the same time. When her father nearly beats her and her mother to death, Young Ju is forced to choose between the silence she has always been made to keep and her need to save her mother from abuse.
This report prepared by Jennifer Selk