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The Last Story of Mina Lee
The Last Story of Mina Lee: A Novel | Nancy Jooyoun Kim
155 posts | 72 read | 1 reading | 43 to read
An electrifying debut novel for fans of Celeste Ng and Jean Kwok, The Last Story of Mina Lee is a poignant mother-daughter story and surprising mystery that illustrates the devastating realities of being an immigrant in America. Margot Lees mother, Mina, isnt returning her calls. Its a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mothers life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother. Interwoven with Margots present-day search is Minas story of her first years in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. Barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a string of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death. Told through the intimate lens of a mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, The Last Story of Mina Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a profound family saga that explores identity, secrets and what it truly means to belong.
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review
Kempfme
Pickpick

This is an amazing read of family and love.

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rjsthumbelina
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Pickpick

This wasn't an easy read, but it was worth it. A beautiful meditation on grief, family, and the life of an immigrant in the US. Read the second half in December, after life went crazy in November and I couldn't finish it with #sundaybuddyread. #WGwordsearch 560 pts
#wintergames #teamgamesleigher @StayCurious
#bookspinbingo #thefestivereadathon #averymerryreadathon #wintercosy #averymerrybingo #adventathon #dashingDecember 6 hrs =420

rjsthumbelina Total points for this one = 1,011 🎄 6mo
tokorowilliamwallace I did consider ordering this as a BOTM add-on. I might have to eventually. I'm guessing it was poignant and affective? 6mo
rjsthumbelina @tokorowilliamwallace I would say it's definitely poignant when talking about the immigrant experience. The meditation on grief was pretty strong as well - I liked being able to see how different characters had different types of grief and handled their grieving process in different ways 6mo
25 likes4 comments
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DanaManiac
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Pickpick

4.5 ⭐️

~Considering all of the characters involved, this story is very easy to follow and it moves quickly.
~I related to a lot of the elements of being first-generation American and felt for both Margot and Mina.
~The genre felt all over the place, but I don't think it was a bad thing- it just felt like a complicated story of intertwined lives.
~Some elements felt unresolved- the driver, the trip to Vegas, etc.

TheBookHippie This is the best review and captures the read perfectly! 7mo
DanaManiac @TheBookHippie Thanks! I‘m still in shock over that plot twist 🥴 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac SAME! Plus everytime I see red lipstick I think of this book ! 💄 7mo
DanaManiac @TheBookHippie 🤣🤣🤣 and when I go to the grocery store, I wonder if there‘s drama behind the scenes. Very impactful book!! 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac 😂😂😬🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
19 likes5 comments
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DebinHawaii
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Pickpick

A solid pick for me, but more a mother-daughter, immigrant experience & coming of age story than the mystery it gets tagged as. Although Margot investigates her mother‘s death, it focuses more on Mina‘s life, her secrets & the divide between an immigrant parent & her American-born daughter. I enjoyed reading it with the #sundaybuddyread group because of the discussions & the descriptions of LA, Korea Town & the delicious food brought it to life.

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Karisa
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Pickpick

How well can we really know our parents? In this modern murder mystery a daughter must untangle her Korean immigrant mother‘s secretive past in the hopes of getting answers to both her mother‘s death and her own life. It kept me guessing until the end.

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janeycanuck
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Pickpick

Kim should write more novel-length fiction. She spun such beautiful characters in this novel. The mystery aspect didn‘t really work for me but I loved Mina‘s story, it was so captivating.

AmyG I loved Mina‘s story, too. The mystery fell a bit flat for me, too. 7mo
Sargar114 Agreed! Mina‘s story really drove this one. 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD FINAL THOUGHTS?

Mine -
Margot and Miguel‘s relationship is pure joy.
I would have never guessed any of the endings!!!

MINA‘S MOM IS ALIVE?!?!?!?!

What stood out to you?
Did I miss anything ?

Sargar114 I was super surprised by this book! I quite enjoyed it way more than expected. I agree Margot and Miguel are lovely together. I loved the ending with her reaching out to find her family. So much possibility there!!!! Didn‘t love Mina‘s end and the Mr Park ending stuff. So if I were to rate was a 4.5 for me. 7mo
Sargar114 Also LA as a character was wonderful. I could visualize being there with all the descriptions. AND THE FOOD!!! 7mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 I SO AGREE!!! Having been and stayed in Koreatown right before the pandemic it made me miss it sooo much. 7mo
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TheBookHippie @Sargar114 I was surprised as well! A solid 4 for me! 7mo
AmyG I, too was surprised by this story. I felt the sadness and pain of Mina and Margot. I just wanted to keep reading to learn. of Mina‘s life. I loved the food, too! Iused to work for Samsung America (the trading branch...before they blew up in electronics) and my boss would take me out for lunchand have me try different Korean dishes. I wish I remembered all of that (it was 35 years ago). A good 4-4.5 for me. 7mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG THE FOOD!!! Just so yum. 7mo
Karisa I liked it too. Definitely different from any other book I‘ve read before. I agree with everyone about the food and LA being important elements. So bittersweet that Margot ends up on the pier with her mom‘s ashes. Margot‘s story does not feel done but I guess that‘s a sign of a good author 7mo
DebinHawaii Overall I liked it. She didn‘t quite stick the landing for me with the ending with how Mina died & Mr. Park & Mrs. Baek, but she definitely did with Margot & leaving it open with the possibilities for her. I agree with everyone on the food & the setting. I would say a very solid 4 & some change from me. 😉 I don‘t know that I would have read this one on my own, so thank you @TheBookHippie for choosing it & the always great hosting. 🤗 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

What did you think of Margot‘s transformation? Does Mina live on free through her?

Sargar114 I love how Margot found herself. I think we all knew she‘d move back to LA. And given what we know about her life in Seattle, that seems to be the best thing. I do think her Mother‘s spirit will live on in her. I mean both have uprooted their lives later in life and started over. (edited) 7mo
AmyG I think Margot will make sure Mina lives throughher now thatshe has an understanding of her mother. 7mo
Karisa Margot does seem to be reliving Mina‘s life… Leaving the stable office job in Seattle for unknowns in LA (not sure if that‘s even financially possible), considering working in the service industry while following artistic dreams, and even the bob haircut! At least Margot has some friends in Miguel and the former officer Choi and maybe her father‘s widow 7mo
DebinHawaii I liked seeing Margot start to open up & find herself & understand Mina more. I think LA will be good for her & will give her more of a community around her. 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mrs Kim. Fired the driver. What did you think of this all? Unnecessary? How did you like her last conversation with Margot? Think they‘ll be friends?!

Sargar114 I knew it wasn‘t them if only because Calabasas is too far a drive from Koreatown that you‘d have to really be malicious to want to do something bad, and I didn‘t really get that vibe from them. The driver was kind of a white collar criminal but nothing more. I don‘t think they‘ll be friends, but maybe more like an aunt. I‘m sure she‘ll want to know more about her father and that‘s the best connection. 7mo
AmyG This part was very odd. Her and Mr Kim‘s relationship, her and the driver. All of it. But, if anything, hopefully Mrs Kim will help Margot understand her father. 7mo
Karisa @AmyG Yeah, it was kind of a toss away. I guess the author just put it all about the driver there for a red herring? Driver guy was unnecessary to me. Felt like it would‘ve worked better if it was just the widow who was distant and unsure of someone who was maybe just out for money 7mo
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Sargar114 @karisa I think it was a red herring. I don‘t think you even consider Mrs Kim as a suspect without the driver, so while ultimately unimportant kinda necessary to make that possibility believable. 7mo
DebinHawaii Yeah, they were never viable suspects for me. I don‘t think she & Margot will be friends, but hopefully a help in learning more about her father. (edited) 7mo
DanaManiac I felt like this part was a little bit strange. I was given the impression before Margot mentioned it in the book, that the driver possibly had drugged her…and then he also pushed her – was he just mean? Did he actually drug her, and if so why? Was he just hoping to get all of the money and didn‘t want an heir in the way? Very bizarre! 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac RIGHT? No answers and SO BIZARRE! 😵‍💫 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Officer Choi ..Margot seeing him at the grocery ..
Hmmmm
Thoughts?!

Sargar114 I quite enjoyed their interaction. I like that you‘re left with possibility but not given anything concrete about the future of their friendship. I imagine it will go further given he will ultimately be the connection between Margot and finding her family. 7mo
AmyG I was happy they rani to each other. I hope they have a relationship...if anything just a friendship. They both seem at a turning point in their lives. 7mo
Karisa I was wondering when he‘d be back in the picture. I was surprised that he quit his job though. Feels like there‘s room for a Margot sequel after this book to explore that blossoming friendship and what Margot is learning about her family (or at least grandma) in Korea 7mo
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Sargar114 You know what @karisa I might read a sequel of Margot going to Korea to learn about her family 7mo
DebinHawaii Yes, that part of the ending I liked—the possibility of more between them, even if only friendship. It was nice to see Margot opening up with him, having Miguel & his friends over, maybe finally finding/firming some community. 7mo
DanaManiac I liked that he reappeared in the story, but I kind of wish that he had used his position to help Margot get some answers. I do also feel that it was left a little bit open and that there might be a sequel – I could be interested in reading that! 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac @Sargar114 and I will read it with you! I want to know what happens NEXT! 😂 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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Mr Park
Well.
That ending.
Justice?

Sargar114 Whoops kinda answered this in the last one, but I‘ll say it isn‘t justice. No one knows the monster that he was except his victims and Margot. He‘ll still be remembered for his accomplishments and that‘s annoying. 7mo
AmyG I don‘t know if it was justice. He was a predator and if anything, I was happy to read he couldn‘t hurt any more women. I was hoping Margot and Mrs. Baek could have had more of a relationship. 7mo
Karisa That was strange too. An animalistic person who preys on others, eaten by predators is both fitting and disturbing. . . I agree with both @AmyG (Mrs. Baek gone again—sigh) and @Sargar114 (not real justice for Mr. Park) 7mo
DebinHawaii Yes, while he got what he deserved, it wasn‘t justice for any of his victims other than maybe Mrs. Baek. 7mo
DanaManiac I agree that he deserved it but that it wasn‘t justice. No one knows the truth about him and if the people he hurt ever come out, it‘ll be more difficult with him gone. But he also can‘t hurt anyone else… 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mrs Baek
The friendship.
Thoughts ?
Then the end…🤯

Sargar114 It was incredibly heartbreaking and disappointing that after everything they‘ve been through, that this was the cause of Mina‘s death. While I‘m glad Mr Park got his in the end, I‘m still not sure it sits well with me. After everything that happened, this part of the ending was disappointing for me. But at least we know Mrs Baek is a survivor. 7mo
AmyG I agree with @Sargar114 that this ending was a bit disappointing. It was a bit out there. 7mo
Karisa I didn‘t see that coming. Had to re-read that part because at first I didn‘t even get it. How could she just leave her friend? Was Mina instantly dead? Why not at least call 911? I guess @Sargar114 has the right word for Baek “survivor” 7mo
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Sargar114 @Karisa I think you touched on why it was so unsettling…after everything they‘ve been through to just leave her seemed odd. 7mo
DebinHawaii Yes, I liked the rest of the ending but that was disappointing that she just left her. Even if she was absolutely sure she was dead, to leave her there was awful. Not to at least leave and then call 911 or the police for a wellness check or something! 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii I wonder if she just froze in fear or if it was truly just survival. 7mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa it‘d have been better if she found her dead and said nothing than caused it, either way is a bit cruel considering their history. 7mo
Sargar114 @TheBookHippie agreed. Just didn‘t add up. 7mo
DanaManiac @Sargar114 Yes, I agree and was totally shocked. I know she was worried about being found out, but man, that was awful to leave her there. How could she be 100% sure Mina was dead? Also I thought the landlord only heard Mina yelling?? 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac that was weird did the landlord hear them both or just her?! Mystery. 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mr Kim appears after 26 YEARS?!
It was to meet him in VEGAS. Sigh….
Mina not telling Mr Kim about Margot?!
They spent time, started up again,went to the Grand Canyon.
Thoughts?

Sargar114 I‘m glad they had this final time together. While I hate she never told him or Margot about each other, it‘s very true to her character. She has experienced so much pain and loss she didn‘t want either to feel that with this knowledge especially since Mr Kim was at the end of his life anyway. 7mo
AmyG I, too, am glad she got to see him. And yes....very on point for her not o tell him about Margot. 7mo
Karisa @Sargar114 The way Mr. Kim kept things from his own mother about his father dying somehow made it ok that Mina didn‘t tell him. I wish she had told Mr. Kim about Margot though. Back when she first had the chance would have been best. Margot‘s life would have been different I think 7mo
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Sargar114 I agree, it would have been better for Mr Kim and Margot to know about each other @Karisa 7mo
DebinHawaii I understand why she didn‘t tell him about Margot at the end of his life but I wish she would have been able to in the beginning. 7mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii I think in the beginning it would have made their lives different, at this point I think she just wanted him and their relationship to soak it in. Plus he kept all kinds of things from her and abandoned her. He knew she was destitute yet never sent money ? 7mo
DanaManiac I can‘t believe she didn‘t tell him about Margot. I had assumed he knew about her when the Vegas trip was planned. I feel so bad for him not knowing. I still feel pretty confused about why it took so long for him to get in touch. Or why he didn‘t try to find her before getting married. So odd. He couldn‘t have thought Mr. Park was looking for him that intended!?! 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac It makes zero sense…. 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Safety deposit box…interesting the history was there?

It‘s interesting Margot‘s take on Koreans vs Korean American. It‘s differences are stark. Why if we are the land of everyone do we not allow it to be so? Interesting thoughts for what is American this week.
Do you ever ponder it?

Sargar114 This quote feels quite fitting for these times and can see the application in the story. I love that Margot has all this information about her family to move forward with. 7mo
AmyG Lincoln is correct. We are at war with ourselves. White supremacy is our #1 probem. I will never understand those people that view others as “alien” or below them. We are all human. No one is more entitled than another. 😔 (edited) 7mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG I so agree. 7mo
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Karisa @AmyG Reminds me of the book Caste and what has been shown by the last presidency. It‘s all about protecting the perception of pecking order and power. So many contradictions in what is accepted when so much really comes down to race in this country. Having to navigate it like Mina on her own would be very difficult. Her story illustrates the “each for themselves” mentality. Mrs. Baek was there but only to a certain point 7mo
AmyG @Karisa I have Caste on my TBR. And it‘s always about power. Or money. 7mo
DebinHawaii @Karisa @AmyG I swear I will read Caste this year. I have the book. And yes, it‘s that hunger for power & money that will continue to ruin it. (edited) 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mina‘s reasoning for not learning English. What did you think?

Sargar114 It made sense given all the rejection she had felt from this country. Plus she was getting by without, so what did it matter to her. 7mo
AmyG Yes, what @Sargar114 said. I will add to that....as an adult, learning a foreign language takes alot of time and energy. I wonder if she even had the “strength” to want to learn something new. 7mo
Karisa “She didn‘t need a language that wasn‘t big enough for her, that didn‘t want to make room for her.” 😢 For a place that takes and incorporates so many words from other languages into ours, many Americans are not very accepting of those learning. I know I have heard people who mock accents also insist that everyone learn English. It must be so hard for immigrants. It‘s frustrating because there is no official language in the U.S, of course 7mo
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TheBookHippie @Karisa Exactly. It‘s all so frustrating. 7mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG I cannot imagine. 7mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 I think the same. When I started nursing in the Alzheimer‘s unit the residents all reverted to their original language NONE of it English. Lots of Dutch German French and Germanic dialects … none of that was frowned upon. It‘s racist at its core. IMO 7mo
DebinHawaii I can understand it—why even try with all of that rejection & frustration. I used to travel in Japan a lot for work years ago & tried to learn the language which was so hard—it‘s not a talent I have but I picked up some. People there were really supportive about it though-like they were pleased I tried to make the effort & helpful. I contrast that with America where as @Karisa said, so many people make fun or treat it as an obligation. 7mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii I agree with you. There are at least 22 languages/dialects of little readers I read with. I try to learn tiny bits for everyone and they and their families are always so helpful and patient and kind. A lesson most Americans need. 7mo
DanaManiac I think considering the fact that she was able to get by without it, I can totally understand. She was in survival mode for so long and she didn‘t need English to survive. 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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“Something about this country makes it easy to forgot we need each other.”

Powerful statement.
True?

Sargar114 I believe it. You have people like Mr Park that use people to be successful that make people like Mina, Mr Kim, and Mrs Baek lose trust in people and separate themselves for protection. These were three lonely people that could have used the support of each other to build a community and have happiness. 7mo
AmyG This will be one of the downfalls of society...lack of community. People need the support of others to thrive. 7mo
Karisa Maybe. I wonder if that is true of most countries these days though? All of the tech and services we have in place can separate us I guess (not to mention politics and pandemics). I was also struck by the author‘s ideas on America. I highlighted “In this country, it was easier to harm someone else than to stay alive. It was easier to take a life than to have one. Was she finally an American?” (Mina thinking while holding the gun) 7mo
DebinHawaii I agree. With all of the divides between people & people just thinking of themselves so much rather than considering others with the pandemic being a great example. 7mo
DanaManiac I agree. I‘ll never forget what things were like here in NYC after 9/11 and how quickly that sense of community ended. Our country is so focused on the individual now. I can‘t imagine having a relationship with my neighbors that is like what my parents had with theirs. 7mo
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“A monster like her”. Describing Margot‘s birth. Mrs. Baek named Margot. The depression -the refusal of Mina to see the entirety of Margot. …. How does this set these women up for their relationship? Or doesn‘t it matter ?

Sargar114 It seemed like some serious postpartum depression especially knowing she was prone to depression from what we‘ve seen in her history. Both Mina and Margot were so lucky to have Mrs Baek take care of them during this time and they‘ll forever be linked because of it. 7mo
AmyG I agree with @Sargar114 that she suffered from postpartum depression. She was alone! Doing all of this. Ho estly, I just can‘t imagine. 7mo
Karisa It would be overwhelming and hard to bond when Mina had lost so many that she loved before (husband, daughter, Mr. Kim, her own parents…) Letting in a new little person to love with the possibility of losing her too would be very scary 7mo
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Sargar114 Good point @Karisa 7mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa I agree. Holding her heart a bit distanced to soften the blow if something happens.. so sad. 7mo
DebinHawaii I agree with everything said here—the postpartum depression & Mina holding everyone, including/especially Margot at arm‘s length as a form of self preservation because of all of the loss in her life. Very sad. 7mo
DanaManiac Yes, I agree that it seems like postpartum depression. Is totally understandable that she‘d be hesitant to be close to Margot. But e we also see that she was simultaneously obsessed with making sure she was okay. 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Tomorrow we discuss the last sections !!! 🤐

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AmyG
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What a sad yet hopeful story of a young, Korean woman learning about her mother‘s past as a result of her sudden death.

Thanks for pucking this one @TheBookHippie
#SundayBuddyRead

TheBookHippie 🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD LAST DISCUSSION on this book on Sunday 🤫🤐

Anyone who has read the book welcome to join in with us. Until then 🤫🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐

AmyG Such a lovely book. 7mo
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Sargar114
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Pickpick

What a gem this ended up being. I did not expect to like this one as much as I did. The story of Margot (an only child raised by a single Korean immigrant mother) and her investigation into her mother‘s life as well as her own heritage. I loved LA as a character and the food descriptions had me salivating! Read for #sundaybuddyread and was my #bookspin for October

AmyG Agree to all of this! 7mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 7mo
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CoffeeNBooks
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Mehso-so

I really wanted to like this one, and was very interested in Mina's story. The parts with Margot's story, though, almost seemed like they were written by someone else- the writing and dialogue, as well as Margot's thoughts and actions just didn't always seem to make sense.

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Andrew65
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Mehso-so

This one started off well but as it progressed found my concentration was drifting. Felt it needed more pace and direction in the story. May be better if read than audiobook but wasn‘t able to get a copy of the book #SundayBuddyRead

7th and last book finished for #NovelNovember

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TheBookHippie
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We get to finish it!!!!!

I am still liking the read, are you?

I have a few questions but overall I am enjoying it.

I‘ve no clue how she died either. 🤷🏻‍♀️

AmyG I love this book. Might just be my favorite of the 2021 books. Ha....as long as it ends “well”....meaning in a satisfying manner. 7mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG I have hope for next year 😂🤞🏻 7mo
AmyG Ha! Not that this year was bad. This was just my favorite. I love this book. 7mo
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Sargar114 @AmyG I agree. I also really loved Silence for the Dead but if this one finishes up well, it‘ll probably be the front runner! 7mo
DanaManiac @AmyG This is my favorite Sunday Buddy Read for this year as well! ☺️ 7mo
DebinHawaii It‘s still Silence for the Dead for me but if she sticks the landing, 😉 this one will be right up there! 7mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii I loved that one as well! 7mo
Karisa I am liking it. It has good tension but also really lovable characters. Great pick! 7mo
mollyrotondo I really love this book! It was definitely a surprise. I figured I‘d like it because I like mother/daughter stories but this one had this unexpected mystery element that I am really loving. Great pick! My favorites were all of the Simone St James picks just because I love her so much! 🤣 but this comes closely behind those books! 7mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo January we are with Simone again!! 7mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa I agree. 7mo
mollyrotondo @TheBookHippie I am so excited!! 7mo
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Who wants her dead the most?!(MINA)
Clues?!

AmyG My only guess could be Mr Kim‘s wife. She knew ablut Mina etc. i think it all comes down to money. I wonder if there also isn‘t money in that safe deposit box from Mr. Kim for Mina...did he know, with his imminent death, that Mina never would have been taken care of. I think he may have realized how much he loved Mina after all. And I think the push by Mrs Kim‘s doorman (whatever he is) is foreboding. Did he visit Mina and push her??? 7mo
Sargar114 See and I think Mr Park. I think he somehow finds out Mina knew what happened with Lupe and doesn‘t want it to come out so is trying to find her. Hence the stalking of Mrs Baek. I think that was also the reason for the sadness/no show in Vegas (edited) 7mo
DanaManiac Haha and I‘m torn between Mrs. Kim and Mr. Park. I think there‘s still time to discover something else sinister about Mr. Park. 7mo
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Kdgordon88 I think too many years have passed for Mr. Park to worry about what he did to Lupe but it certainly can be in relation to Mrs. Baek and Mina trying to protect her from him. 7mo
DebinHawaii I think the Mrs. Kim/chauffeur thing is less likely than it having to do with Mr. Park. I feel like she wouldn‘t have shared her anger at Mr. Kim spending money on getting info for Mina with Margot if they had killed her. But with Mr. Park, like @Kdgordon88 said, it‘s more likely to do with the stalking & possible of Mrs. Baek rather than him trying to silence her about Lupe. I feel like Mina was in the crosshairs, trying to protect Mrs. Baek. 7mo
Karisa I do not know, and I love that it could equally be either. Maybe the two are connected somehow? Business partners? Relatives? Maybe Mr. Kim had to marry her for his own safety??? Then he had to keep Mina/Margot far away from them? 7mo
mollyrotondo I am going with our theory from last week that Mina just simply fell and these stories from the past didn‘t have anything to do with Mina‘s death. We shall see!!!! 7mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo I go back and forth! 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Margot thought she‘d going on living like she has -apart and visit once or twice. Now she is full of regret. Was it naive of her? Was she really just running away from life instead of running to a life grown up?

AmyG I believe Margot was making decisions with the i fo she had at that time. She knew nothing about her mother and her past. In the death of her mother she is forced to basically grow up. 7mo
Sargar114 If her mother had lived she definitely would have continued on this way. It‘s a sad thought, but Mina‘s death actually brought her closer to her mom. 7mo
DanaManiac I don‘t think she was naïve. I think we don‘t teach young people what we can about the nature of life, getting older, and regret. When you‘re young, you think everything will last forever. The thought of dying and losing everyone eventually is like the thought of seeing unicorns on the moon lol. 7mo
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DebinHawaii Regrets are painful. I think Margot just wanted something more and different & was running away from being pulled into the kind of life her mother had. 7mo
Karisa @DebinHawaii Yes, I think that too. Both women wanted more for Margot. Margot needed to break away to grow and Mina was so busy with her shop, it seems like she wasn‘t ready for a close connection either. It was sad they didn‘t have time later to connect once Margot had established herself and Mina was on a more solid footing too. I think that regret powers this book 7mo
DebinHawaii @Karisa Nicely stated “regret powers this book.” So true! 7mo
mollyrotondo @Karisa I agree that both probably thought they had more time to connect once Margot lived apart for a while and Mina focused on her shop. But we must live for today because so much can happen between now and that future day we think we will eventually get to. 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

THE BEAR - THE KEY
What‘s in the safety deposit boxes ?

AmyG What I think may be in the box....didn‘t Mr. Kim hire detectives for Mina....gathering info in Korea? Is that in the box? Does Margot learn about all her Korean relatives...essentially finding her family? (edited) 7mo
Sargar114 THE KEY!!! I laughed at this given the cliffhanger ending of this section haha. I had thought maybe something about Mr Park but really no idea, I like your idea @AmyG that would be a nice ending 7mo
DanaManiac I had no theories about this, but I like yours, @AmyG !! 7mo
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TheBookHippie @AmyG I like this ending! 🤞🏻🤞🏻 7mo
DebinHawaii @amyg I am hoping it is information on her family. Even information about Mina‘s life, for Margot to have that knowledge, finally, would be a good ending. 7mo
Karisa @AmyG ooh! I like that idea. We need some answers as this book wraps up! 7mo
mollyrotondo @AmyG definitely hope you are right! 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Margot keeping her people and relationships all separate to prevent pain …is this inadvertently learned from he mom?

📸 this Remind me of Seinfeld and George‘s WORLDS 😂

AmyG Ha! Worlds are colliding. This is no summer of George! Generational trauma.....all not told to Margot affects her in ways she may only just be realizing. I am just really looking forward to the last part of the book. I still think there is so much more to learn. I really like how the author slowly reveals the past. (edited) 7mo
Sargar114 This definitely feels like learned behavior. A means to protect oneself. Me and my mom do this too it‘s interesting to read it. While I don‘t have the cultural connection (nor the death and mystery), I do find myself relating to Margot 7mo
DanaManiac I agree that is learned behavior. At first, I was hardcore judging Margot but I realize that I do the same thing lol. There are stores with home goods in Brooklyn that are super popular amongst Caribbean immigrants. Once I left for school and had my own money, I never stepped foot inside again- only Target etc. I associate them with being poor and not fitting in… 7mo
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DebinHawaii I think the compartmentalizing is a coping defense for sure & likely something she learned watching Mina. (edited) 7mo
DebinHawaii And good Seinfeld reference! 😉 7mo
Karisa @DanaManiac @Sargar114 I do this too. I don‘t think it‘s intentional just more based on commonalities between the different groups. For example, most people at work and home aren‘t as interested in books as we Littens. If I try to talk books, eyes gloss over unfortunately 😢😂 7mo
mollyrotondo Wonderful Seinfeld reference!!! Worlds are colliding! But yes I think we all do this to a certain extent. Sometimes it‘s out of embarrassment and sometimes it‘s just because certain groups of friends or family don‘t mesh well with your other groups. I think it‘s normal as long as our relationships to those things are healthy. 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mrs Kim- I hope we learn how he married this woman
Is she lying about their open relationship ?
WHAT WAS IN THE TEA?!
And her driver/lover PUSHED Margot?!

AmyG Another huge secret. It‘s all very odd. 7mo
Sargar114 This part of the story is so bizarre…I wonder how it‘s all connected. 7mo
DanaManiac Yes, I need an explanation for this scene. I hope we get one and it‘s not just brushed aside! 7mo
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Kdgordon88 I feel like Mrs. Kim‘s reaction was genuine but the driver might see an end to his cash cow and do something drastic. I‘m hoping Margot finds the PI and we‘re learn more there…but maybe the papers had the answers and Mrs. Kim feigned surprise and they already had a plan in place if Margot showed up….??? (edited) 7mo
DebinHawaii I feel like maybe it‘s a red herring for some reason. I don‘t think Mrs.Kim & the driver are good people but I have a hard time connecting them to Mina‘s death in my mind. I wonder if the tea made Margot sick or if she was just sick & understandably suspecting of everyone. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
Karisa Mrs. Kim seemed sincere but there‘s definitely something she‘s leaving out. Maybe a marriage of convenience? Makes me wonder if the officer knows more about the situation than he let on too and wanted Margot to just keep out of it. That driver was extra creepy. Seemed he did put something in her tea—did Mrs. Kim know though??? 7mo
mollyrotondo This past was so bizarre and I loved every minute of it lol. I do think something is up with these two. I mean why else would the driver push Margot. Something must have happened involving these two because they were acting way too weirdly. 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mina is pregnant
Why didn‘t Mr Kim take Mina with?
Do you think they had a meet up planned in Las Vegas ? Wonder why he didn‘t show?

AmyG Something doesn‘t sit right about Mr. Kim leaving so quickly. I felt as if he used Mina as he so easily left. 7mo
Sargar114 I disagree @AmyG I think he was genuinely trying to protect Mina. He didn‘t want Mr Park going after her like he did Lupe or have her deported because she knew too much. I wonder why he didn‘t show in Vegas, scared maybe? I hope we find out! 7mo
DanaManiac I think he really thought he was doing the best thing by leaving Mina. But why was he gone so long and so out of touch to not know about Margot? How did he end up getting married without looking for Mina first? She never left… 7mo
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Kdgordon88 Mr. Kim‘s leaving feels like protecting himself not Mina. Mina still had to go to work and face a predator everyday. As an undocumented immigrant she is no safer in that store than Lupe was especially with Mr Kim gone. I want to like him but this makes it hard. 7mo
DebinHawaii @Kdgordon88 I agree. It does seem like he was looking out more for himself & his fear of getting deported than protecting her & leaving her in the store with Mr. Park. I am hoping there is something that explains him better in the next section because I want to like him too. 7mo
Karisa @Sargar114 I agree with you. They were trying to convince Mr. Park that Mina was not involved in order to protect her. It sounds like the situation Mr. Kim was heading into wasn‘t safe for her either. He didn‘t know about the pregnancy at that point. No perfect choices for them… 7mo
mollyrotondo Oh wow I am surprised some people don‘t like Mr Kim for making this decision. Very interesting. I am still on his side but I understand now why people would see his action as selfish. I didn‘t see that first. I just felt awful that the three characters were put in this situation because it‘s dangerous for them as immigrants. I wasn‘t even thinking of selfishness. But this is why I love book discussion!! 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

GoodNESS poor Lupe ..
and Mr Park !
An animal and a predator…
So this is why Mr Kim leaves.

How common do you think this is with undocumented people? They cannot report rape, or they‘ll be deported. How does this fit in our story?

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/13/how-the-most-vulnerable-workers-are...

https://victimlawyer.com/about-sexual-assault/immigrant-sexual-assault/

AmyG I had a bad feeling about Mr. Park from the beginning. How easy it is for men to abuse illegal immigrants....as who would the victim report to? The victim could be shipped out of the country and the abuser knows this. 7mo
Sargar114 He was a creep and this proved it! This was awful and I assume this happens way more frequently than we hear. Any way to establish power over someone who doesn‘t have any, seems like a common theme 🤮 7mo
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DanaManiac I knew that man was a creep from the time we were introduced to him! Ugh I‘m sure it happens a lot. As we‘ve seen even with orphanages here and abroad, some people choose to work with vulnerable populations because they are easy prey. And it makes cowards out of those who witness it because they are usually vulnerable as well. 7mo
DebinHawaii Yes, it was clear he is an evil man. He relishes his “power” over those who can‘t fight back for fear of reprisal & deportation. It is awful how often this happens. 🤬🥵😡 7mo
Karisa @DebinHawaii Yes, he‘s so sick with his power over others. The situation though horrible, rang true 7mo
mollyrotondo This is yet another way to silence women. Immigrant women should not suffer deportation just because they report a crime that has been inflicted upon them. Of course disgusting people like Mr Park would enact his violent behavior on the immigrants who work for him if he knows the system is rigged against the immigrant therefore letting people like him perpetually committing the heinous crime. Uhhh it makes me so angry! 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

“You saved her”
Mrs Baek tells her ..

Mr Kim IS her dad!

What do you think of Mrs Baek now the more information we get ?

AmyG I am very curious to know what else she knows....as there is more to the story. Makes me wonder if she and Margot form a lasting relationship. 7mo
Sargar114 I think she‘s actually trying to protect Margot…maybe Mr Park was stalking Mrs Baek to try and get back at Mina and/or Mr Kim for that incident. And now that Mina is dead she may be worried he‘d do something to Margot to cover his tracks as I think he was involved in Mina‘s death 7mo
Sargar114 @AmyG I hope they do! 7mo
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AmyG @Sargar114 That is a very interesting thought about Mrs Baek and Mr Park. 7mo
DanaManiac I agree that Mrs. Baek is acting out of a sense of safety and protection. Even if Mr. Park isn‘t responsible for Mina‘s death, he‘s not someone you‘d want to send an unknowing young woman around. 7mo
DebinHawaii I‘m glad it turned out Mr. Kim is Mina‘s father & not Mr. Park. I think Mrs. Baek knows more than she is saying about Mina‘s death & is trying to protect Margot too & it does seem like Mr. Park is involved somehow in the picture whether or not the death was intentional or not. 7mo
Kdgordon88 @DebinHawaii I was very afraid Mr. Park was her father. It would have been horrible to learn she was born from violence rather than love. 7mo
DebinHawaii @Kdgordon88 Yes, exactly! 7mo
Karisa @DanaManiac @Sargar114 Agreed. Mrs. Baek does seem to be afraid for herself and protecting Mina/Margot. I wish she‘d given more info to Margot before leaving, but maybe it wasn‘t safe. So glad Margot had a kind father. The author did a good job of setting up why he‘d need to leave without a trace when he is a good guy 7mo
mollyrotondo @Karisa I agree that the author did a good job setting up why Mr Kim had to leave. I like Mrs Baek a lot. She seems to be trying to protect Margot from Mr Park but is being as honest with her as she can be. I like her. I think the only person I don‘t like is Mr Park. 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

It was a relief to read about Mina and Mr Kim on the date to the pier- to know she had that
You?
Also I‘m terrified of heights, I think she was very brave. You?

Were they both in love?

📸 me

AmyG I think they could have been falling in love. He was very kind to her and she trusted him. 7mo
Sargar114 @AmyG I agree, this seemed to be the beginning of something big. The fact despite her fear she was willing to go up on the Ferris wheel with him was a big step 7mo
DanaManiac I definitely think they were falling in love. They both seem so shy but willing to be brave. 7mo
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DebinHawaii Yes, I think they were starting to fall in love. It was good to see Mina enjoying herself with him. (edited) 7mo
Karisa I was happy for them too. They are both such caring people with big struggles. 7mo
mollyrotondo Definitely think they were in love and it is wonderful that Mina found that with Mr Kim. It just hurts to know it was taken away from them. 7mo
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DebinHawaii
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My 3rd Saturday of the month dinner is the dim sum (radish cakes, shrimp & chive dumplings & taro puffs) I grab from the craft & product market by my house. I spent a good portion of the day laying about getting over the after-effects of my booster shot so a late dinner & my chapters for #sundaybuddyread discussion tomorrow. It‘s Chinese food rather than the Korean food in the book, but it is still delicious.

TheBookHippie Yum. 7mo
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See you SUNDAY 😳 #SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

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AmyG We had Korean-inspired food truck food last night and I kept thinking of this book! 7mo
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CoffeeNBooks
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For #NovelNovember day #4, I'm focusing on reading this week's discussion section of The Last Story of Mina Lee for #SundayBuddyRead. @Andrew65

Andrew65 Great 😊 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

I‘m anxious to read more !!!!

Pages 197-281 this week!!!

197 starts “With the sun hanging low….”

281 ends “But who would want her mother dead the most?” 😱

Not having chapters is 🤦🏻‍♀️

Sargar114 Holy smokes looks like it‘ll be a crazy cliffhanger here too! Lol 7mo
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Andrew65
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Started listening to the second section of the book ready for #SundayBuddyRead

Reading this as part of #NovelNovember and #AnyWayYouReadathon

TheBookHippie Can‘t wait to hear what you think is happening !!!! 7mo
Andrew65 @TheBookHippie It is incredibly puzzling!!! 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

I use math to split up our reading
And WHAT DID I DO?
I can‘t believe that‘s where we stopped 😬

Now what ?!

Karisa I‘m ready the Kindle version so not quite sure if I got to the right point. I was at the swap meet for what seems like a final or next to final visit there… It‘s hard to pause this book! I want to know where it‘s going and that Margot will be ok. She‘s brave to be staying at the mother‘s apartment. I keep wanting her to go through more things there to see if there are more clues (or to go through the shop more) 7mo
Sargar114 That was a pretty great cliffhanger!!!! With this book and the trail of clues, I think anyway you ended the sections would have had similar reactions! I‘m loving this book! I‘ve read the last couple sections in a day! 7mo
AmyG @Sargar114 I am loving this book, too. YES... very hard to stop. Great pick, C! 7mo
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DebinHawaii I thought it ended in a good place with her off to find Mrs. Baek. I‘m am going to have a hard time following my “rule” of reading the night before #sundaybuddyread discussion as it has me intrigued. It‘s a slow burn so far but really good! 7mo
DanaManiac I am enjoying this book so much! I‘m starting next week‘s reading once I‘m finished leaving this comment 😆 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac I am loving it! 7mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii I usually wait to read until Wednesday when all readers have answered our questions but I want to read it now! 😂 7mo
mollyrotondo I am really loving this book too. I finished this section in one day (last Wednesday 🤦🏻‍♀️ so sorry to be late to the convo) I can‘t wait to get back into it this week! Really great pick! 7mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo I‘m really enjoying it too! 7mo
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Mary. Mr Kim‘s wife?
Thoughts ?

Karisa We just got that strange glimpse through the window. Can we even be positive that was the widow they saw? Who‘s the hot guy? Why didn‘t Margot and Miguel knock? And what‘s with all the M names? 😂 7mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa OMG alll the M names 😂 7mo
Sargar114 @karisa why DIDNT they knock?! Seemed so weird to go all that way (it‘s pretty far from koreatown to calabasas especially in LA terms) and not do anything about it! 7mo
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AmyG I found this weird, too. But go figure out people! This part of the story is very interesting. 7mo
DebinHawaii Yes! The M names! 😳🤣 And I also thought it was weird to just go & spy without doing something more.🕵️‍♀️ 7mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 I agree🤪🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
mollyrotondo I have a feeling that young woman was a daughter and her husband. I do not believe she was Kim‘s wife and the wife had a lover. Too confusing. I think all of that was a misunderstanding. And I also didn‘t understand why they just stared through the window 🤣 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mr Kim leaving all the treats at work for Mina…
This is how is starts?

Karisa It is really sweet. I thought he was married at the time though? Maybe not? Mentioned a first wife had died so maybe the current widow was the much younger looking woman (or maybe lots of plastic surgery)? I feel like I left this part of the book with more questions than answers 😂 7mo
Sargar114 @karisa I don‘t think he was married at the time when Mina first meets him. I think he gets married after whatever falling out happens. Agreed way more questions though! I also loved the things left for her. 7mo
AmyG I found it very endearing. I look forward to reading more about them. 7mo
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DebinHawaii I agree @Sargar114 I don‘t think he was married when he is first leaving her the little gifts. But very sweet & I liked when she left him something back too. 7mo
DanaManiac I was definitely waiting for a flashback to get clarification on when he got married. The treats and gifts were a really sweet gesture, I really hope to discover some happiness in these flashbacks as we get to know more about Mina and Mr. Kim. 7mo
mollyrotondo I thought the gifts were sweet too. I just wish Mina and Mr Kim could have had life long happiness. 7mo
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The landlord ?!

Thoughts?

Karisa Landlord situ was strange. Is he trying to coverup something? Is the police officer involved? So weird that the landlord just vanished right away “family emergency”. Margot‘s also mentioned gentrification so the landlord might be wanting to sell it all 7mo
Sargar114 That felt like the landlord not trusting the police; which he pretty much told Margot when he said all that to her. So it didn‘t surprise me when he didn‘t say anything to the police. Him disappearing seems he‘s avoiding Margot because she told the police after they spoke and now he doesn‘t trust her either. 7mo
AmyG I don‘t know if he had anything to do or if he knew anything about Mina‘s death.....or if he was just a shady landlord...running things in an improper way...not wanting the police involved as they would uncover what he was doing. (edited) 7mo
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DebinHawaii Yeah, I don‘t think he was involved. I feel like he actually may know something, but because he doesn‘t want police involvement with his building, he doesn‘t want to say & wants to avoid Margot now. 7mo
DanaManiac I‘m not sure what to make of the landlord situation. On the one hand, he is the one who told Margot that he overheard her mother having an argument, but on the other hand he doesn‘t want her to ask questions about it and also doesn‘t want to tell the police. So, why bring it up at all? I wonder if his plot line is a dead end, or if he knows something else that we don‘t know yet. 7mo
mollyrotondo I just think the landlord is afraid of the police and doesn‘t want to get involved too much. 7mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo I don‘t talk to the police either so 😂🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
mollyrotondo @TheBookHippie I wouldn‘t talk to the police either. I don‘t blame the landlord for not trusting them. 7mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo No me either. Seems normal to me to not trust or speak to them. This upsets people 😬 7mo
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The ocean ahhhhh (Santa Monica)
Then the call comes
Kim Chang-hee
Grand Canyon
Mina got her wish

The descriptive nature of this book
Like or dislike ?

📸me at the pier

Karisa I was glad she had her time at the Grand Canyon with him too. Both the ocean and the GC are beautiful vast places. The trip‘s timing feels important since it was right before both died. I was surprised that the travel agency told Margot so much 7mo
Sargar114 @Karisa I was surprised by that too! 7mo
Sargar114 I get the feeling the later part of their relationship was more friends than anything. I‘m sure they love each other but it doesn‘t seem like in the nefarious affair sorta way, knowing their past. I‘m LOVING the details! I grew up in the LA area so it is quite accurate and making me nostalgic. And the foood!!!! 7mo
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TheBookHippie @Sargar114 I love it too. I was staying in Koreatown the spring before COVID so it‘s fresh on my mind. We are usually in California in March/April. It‘s been so strange to not be there.. 7mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 I think friends as well … 7mo
AmyG I wondered if they took this trip as he knew he had cancer and was eventually going to die. I love this book. So much to learn! 7mo
Sargar114 @AmyG I could see that! I‘m looking forward to see their relationship grow. 7mo
DebinHawaii I love descriptive books both setting & food. I get annoyed when characters just grab dinner—I want to know the details about what they ate. And I like knowing what the settings look, sound, smell & feel like, whether they are new to me or old favorites. 7mo
DanaManiac Yes, I agree that based on how they behave in the flashbacks, it feels really unbelievable that they would be having a romantic affair. I really enjoy the descriptive nature of the book – I feel like it helps set the mood, the tone and really help you know what to focus on in each part of the story. 7mo
mollyrotondo I am glad she got to see parts of this country she always wanted to visit. I like the way this book is written. I normally don‘t like too much description but this book does a great job balancing description and story. 7mo
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“A woman alone is no one at all.”

Still true?
I was taught this, and here in my town, it is still taught to girls in the religious schools….

I was surprised to see it here. 🙄

Did you catch it?

Karisa Yeah, that one stings… I‘m trying to remember if it was from a Margot or a Mina part. I want to hope it was from the mother. As to the truth of it, I wonder if it is thought of anyone without a partner/family. We are so defined by our roles especially our roles in relation to others (mother, wife, job, etc) 7mo
Sargar114 It seemed like this was a cultural and societal pressure. Still annoying that it‘s a thing. Love this quote though! 7mo
AmyG Go Gloria. I am a believer that if you are a good, decent human being....who gives a sh** if you are married or not, with a man or a woman etc. 7mo
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Kdgordon88 My mother certainly believed this. Luckily, I had other women to show me I can be more than the man I married. 7mo
DebinHawaii I am surprised I missed it—having heard it so often myself in various ways over the years, I am pretty sensitive to those kind of remarks in books! 🙄🤬 7mo
DanaManiac It‘s so frustrating, because I have some peers who feel this way- no matter what they‘ve achieved in life, it means nothing without being married. I can‘t relate, because I wasn‘t raised that way, but I do know that society still feels that way towards women. 7mo
mollyrotondo I am glad my mother didn‘t raise me this way but society has certainly slapped me in the face with this many times. It‘s hard getting a mortgage as a single young woman without them wanting someone to co-sign. It hurts. 7mo
TheBookHippie @DebinHawaii 🤮 I loathe it. 7mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo my daughter gets that too..🤬 7mo
mollyrotondo @TheBookHippie it‘s infuriating. It shouldn‘t be the only way people look at a woman. On a man‘s arm. 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Margot‘s talk with Officer Choi?
Was she right to do that ?
Is he reluctant or is it just not important ?
Or is he right?

Karisa I‘ve been wondering about him too. He‘s been mentioned too many times to not be important. He‘s got to be more than a symbol of police inefficiency—would the police really worry about hiding an affair if investigating possible murder? Is the handsome officer a potential love interest? 7mo
Sargar114 @Karisa I‘m thinking possible love interest. I do think they‘re both right, if something bad actually happened then it should be investigated. However I do see the point of bringing up more pain if it‘s not necessary but you can always question her without going right to your husbands had an affair. 7mo
AmyG I was thinking love interest, too. In Margot‘s quest to be American.....she winds up with a Korean man who helps her understand her Mom and being Korean. 7mo
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Sargar114 @AmyG good point!!! 7mo
DebinHawaii I vote for possible love interest too or at least I think he‘ll end up being an ally in the end. I see both sides with him & Margot—is it fair to involve Mr. Kim‘s widow if it has nothing to do with him, or is an accident? But if the police aren‘t taking it seriously & investigating the details, that‘s not right either. 7mo
DanaManiac I like him! On the one hand, I feel like I can understand Margot wanting an explanation and leaving no stone unturned. From a practical perspective from the outside, it does seem to be accidental and there‘s nothing to indicate that it wasn‘t, so I can‘t really blame him for his response. 7mo
mollyrotondo So I would normally say police inefficiency but since I‘m wondering if her mother really did simply have an accident I feel like officer Choi could be right. But I am not going to side with him just yet. And I don‘t really think Margot needs a love interest in this book. 7mo
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

The restaurant “old Korean man”
He knew something but what?!
Hanok House
Where Mina and Mr Kim go on their first date!
Then we find out

Mr Park
Is the restaurant owner?! Now
Mrs Baek left because of him
Mina‘s first boss
Margot‘s dad?!

WHAT?!

Karisa Yeah, the restaurant feels important too. I don‘t trust Ms. Baek. She must know more. So many secrets! 7mo
Sargar114 That was a good twist with Mr Park being the restaurant owner. This turned out to be a much twistier tale than I expected. Can we also talk about the food descriptions!!! 🤤 7mo
TheBookHippie @Sargar114 the FOOD!!!! Just yum. 7mo
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AmyG Hahahaha....I keep googling food. I used to work for Samsung America....before they got very big. My boss used to take me to lunch for Korean food. NOW I wish I‘d paid more attention to what I ate! 7mo
AmyG I am so enjoying this book. I don‘t know what to think...but I love all the twists and turns. 7mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG I love it too! 7mo
DebinHawaii I love Korean food & reading the descriptions makes me hungry! I feel like Mr. Park maybe stalked or assaulted Mina before Mrs. Baek but I still lean toward Mr. Kim being Margot‘s father & who they went to meet in Vegas rather than Mr. Park. 7mo
DanaManiac Everything sounds so delicious! In fact, I ended up adding a Korean recipe to this week‘s dinner menu because the flavors just all sound so yummy. 🥘 7mo
TheBookHippie @DanaManiac 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I sent my daughter out to find some take out 😂 7mo
mollyrotondo @DebinHawaii I also think Park harassed Mina but Mr Kim is the father. I just feel like Mina would try to reconnect with Kim and would never try to reach out it Park. Maybe Baek knew Park assaulted Mina at some point and she ran to get help from Mina after Park started to harass her. I also love the twists in this book! 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Miguel good friend
Also he said what I thought
This has got to be about money …

Think this is about money ???

Karisa It‘s weird because Mina and Margot have so little but what other motive is there? Too many shady people around for it to have been an accident at this point—Mrs. Baek, Mr. Park, the Landlord, the possible widow/boy toy… 7mo
TheBookHippie @Karisa I thought that too unless it‘s inheritance ? 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
Karisa @TheBookHippie Good point! Maybe there is a Will? 7mo
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Sargar114 The more we learn about Mina it would seem out of character for her to try and get money out of the situation. That being said the other players involved wouldn‘t necessarily know that and may have made some assumptions 7mo
AmyG Sometims I wonder if Mina just didn‘t....die. That Margot didn‘t learn all about her Mom until her death. And if Mina had lived.... nothing would have changed. Through death Margot learned to love and respect her Mom. 7mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG I thought that too once or twice… she just died 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
AmyG @TheBookHippie Right? But Mina thinking it was something...forced her to confront (and learn about) her mother‘s past and her feelings for her mother. And maybe led her to a boyfriend? Does she move back to LA??? Embrace her Korean identity as opposed to run from it??? (edited) 7mo
TheBookHippie @AmyG It could be the whole point. 7mo
Sargar114 @AmyG I think you‘re right, I think Margot just keeps staying the course if she‘s not forced to deal with her mother‘s death. A little ironic that through her death she learns about life (both hers and her mothers). I think she‘ll move back to LA. 7mo
Kdgordon88 @AmyG I had the same thought. And maybe guilt is pushing her a little to find out what happened when she died since she didn‘t really try to understand Mina when she was alive. 7mo
AmyG @Kdgordon88 Good call-definitey guilt. 7mo
DebinHawaii It‘s a hard one to call. As has been said here, part of me wonders whether Mina‘s death was an accident, a fall or something & nothing to do with Mr. Kim, his wife & money. Part of me thinks Mr. Park is involved somehow. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 7mo
DanaManiac @AmyG I agree. I‘m trying to decide if this book is about a sad accidental death, and a daughter learning about her mother because of her death or a mother-daughter murder mystery? I‘m not sure what to think, but I don‘t have any theories yet on a motive if Margot was indeed killed. 7mo
mollyrotondo @AmyG I feel this way too. That the mother just fell but Margot is turning it into more because she feels guilty she wasn‘t there for her mother more. But either way I really like this journey we are on with both mother and daughter 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Mina
Begging this life for mercy.
Think she ever got it?

📸 https://londonkoreanlinks.net/2015/10/24/rip-chun-kyung-ja/

Sargar114 Maybe, in the form of Margot. Maybe she was her second chance at life/love. Someone to help her move on from all she lost. 7mo
Karisa Beautiful artwork! Mina did seem to end up in a lonely place. Seeing her and Mr. Kim helping Lupe and the kids was sweet. Seeing her present life only through Margot‘s eyes is limiting though. Margot was so detached from her mom and didn‘t even speak fluently in Korean. I‘m hoping we see more of the picture as the book moves forward 7mo
AmyG I can‘t, even with reading, imagine the strength it took for Mina to start over. For her to even survive and all in a foreign country...alone. I fault her nothing as it was just survival for her and her daughter. Again, Margot was detached as @Karisa said....Mina was detached from her Mom. 7mo
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Sargar114 @AmyG I share your same sentiment towards Mina. She‘s a survivor! 7mo
Kdgordon88 I think Mina might have kept herself a little removed while raising Margot. She was devastated by the loss of her first family and might have wanted to protect her heart from the possibility of another loss creating some of the distance between mother and daughter. 7mo
TheBookHippie @Kdgordon88 I think that‘s probably true. 7mo
DebinHawaii I am hoping that Margot finds that there was some spark of happiness at least for Mina amidst the loneliness. Mina is a survivor for sure. The artwork is gorgeous. 7mo
DanaManiac As we get to know Mina, I feel like all I see is loss – she lost her husband and daughter in Korea, she lost her friend for a period of time, Margot moved away, and her secret boyfriend is dead. I wonder if we will get to see how she felt about her relationship with Margot in any of the flashbacks. 7mo
mollyrotondo @Kdgordon88 I see Mina as keeping her distance from Margot as a way to protect herself from being hurt again like she hurt after she lost her family. Mina has endured a lot of pain in her life and it‘s easy for that pain to consume a person 7mo
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TheBookHippie
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#SUNDAYBUDDYREAD

Koreatown
Rodney King riots
Took all Mina‘s security
How awful
To learn fairness doesn‘t prevail. You are not protected. Those in power still are.
What a hard horrible truth/lesson
Do you think people in general are aware
of this hardship? Of these facts?

How does this shape the mother daughter relationship do you think ?

Sargar114 It seems life situation and age help to realize this. Immigrants and other minorities recognize the imbalance of the system and the rest realize it the more they see of the world. It could definitely explain part of the strain of their relationship as Mina is doing what she can to protect what they have and Margot just wants to live but doesn‘t fully understand the hardships. 7mo
Karisa It is interesting to see this aspect of the Rodney King riots from the Korean shopkeepers pov. I remember that event only vaguely and watched some documentaries more recently—lots of racism from the Korean shopkeepers directed at Black people leading up to the riots. The book didn‘t seem to mention it though. It all added up to even more heartache in Mina/Margot‘s story 7mo
AmyG I had no ideaof the effect of thhe riots on the Korean community. It‘s all headtbreaking. The racism in this country is frightening and only getting worse. I believe Mina tried to shelter Margot a bit....from the horrors of her past. Only now, as Margot learns of Mina‘s life, does she understand. I think as a child she felt Mina‘s pain and I also think that was why she moved. She internalized that pain without understanding it. 7mo
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TheBookHippie @Karisa I remember all the restaurants and shops burning and fire and police doing nothing. There seems to be racism between those two even to this day it seems… I know there are folks working on it especially with recent attacks. 7mo
Karisa @AmyG It‘s too bad that Margot is not hearing the Mina flashbacks too. I have to keep reminding myself of what I know as a reader and what she knows of the present day. Almost wishing the 1980s parts were in a journal Margot and Miguel found written in Korean and had to translate… 7mo
Karisa @TheBookHippie It is such a sad situation. Surprised but not that still happening today 😢 7mo
DebinHawaii I read another book a while ago that involved the the racism between the black & Korean communities & took place during the 1980s, but I can‘t remember what book it was. @Karisa I agree, I hope that Margot somehow can learn more about her mother‘s struggles during that time & comes to understand her more. 7mo
DanaManiac @Karisa That‘s such an interesting idea! I think it would be very helpful for Margot to know more about her mother‘s history. Clearly, she‘s going to learn a lot more about her mom as she investigates her death, but I wonder how much she will really how about Mina. 7mo
AmyG @Karisa Funny you said that because at one point I realized that only the reader knows Mina‘s story and thoughts. I am guessing that someone, Mrs Baek?, fills her in on what she knows. 7mo
mollyrotondo The passage on page 104 in my book was such an honest and heartbreaking truth. No justice is given to Rodney King and a whole community is burned because of that injustice and that community of discriminated people must start over again. Injustice creates a destructive cycle. 7mo
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