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Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 Reviews

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo, Jamie Chang

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Cho Nam-Joo, Jamie Chang

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2 reviews

Imprint: Scribner UK
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publication date: 20 Feb 2020
ISBN: 9781471184284

Ms Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 is the book which is changing the world one country at a time. A cultural phenomenon in its native South Korea, this book has effectively created the #metoo movement in Japan and soon everybody in Britain will be talking about it, too.

  • The BooksellerEditor's Choice
4 stars out of 5
Alice O'Keeffe
1 Nov 2019

"Uncompromising and powerful, this shows hidden misogyny in sharp relief."

A sensation in the author's native South Korea, this charts the life of the eponymous Kim Jiyong from birth to age 33, when she is treated for post-natal depression. In economical prose it tells of a life constantly devalued and undermined by a society that places the value of men far above that of women. As she moves from school and predatory male teachers; to work, where she is overlooked for promotion; to marriage, where she is forced to give up her career for a life of domesticity. Uncompromising and powerful, this shows hidden misogyny in sharp relief.


3 stars out of 5
16 Feb 2020

" It is a treatise and a howl of anger dressed up in novel form"

But the book is an international bestseller because it describes experiences that will be recognisable everywhere. Its slim, unadorned narrative distils a lifetime’s iniquities into a sharp punch. And at its best, the book demonstrates the unfairness of the female experience and the sheer difficulty of improving it. Cho shrewdly presents Jiyoung’s husband, for example, as a good man who is nonetheless complicit in her subjugation, and shows how Jiyoung, a feminist, will compromise on her principles when practicality requires. The problem is that Cho prioritises argument over character, and seems to be more concerned with disseminating facts than devising fiction.