Author: Kim Hye-jin
Publication Date: 2022 (2017)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Borrowed from the Library
When an ageing mother allows her thirty-something daughter to move into her apartment, she wants for her what many mothers might say they want for their child: a steady income, and, even better, a good husband with a good job with whom to start a family.
But when Green turns up with her girlfriend, Lane, in tow, her mother is unprepared and unwilling to welcome Lane into her home. In fact, she can barely bring herself to be civil. Having centred her life on her husband and child, her daughter’s definition of family is not one she can accept. Her daughter’s involvement in a case of unfair dismissal involving gay colleagues from the university where she works is similarly strange to her.
And yet when the care home where she works insists that she lower her standard of care for an elderly dementia patient who has no family, who travelled the world as a successful diplomat, who chose not to have children, Green’s mother cannot accept it. Why should not having chosen a traditional life mean that your life is worth nothing at all?
Concerning My Daughter was a book that crept up on me. I was a little disengaged in the first half (though I was reading while tired, to be fair), but I became more caught up in the story in the second half. It is a thoughtful piece that considers perceptions, societal expectations and learning how to deal when something happens that confronts a long-held belief. It touches on a lot of important topics and themes in its fairly short page count but still feels like a complete tale with an ending that satisfied me. I would certainly read more from this author in the future. It gets 4.5 stars from me.