Kale Cotton Candy
To-go Sit-and-Savor
Ohmmm Buckle your seatbelt
Then Not Yet
Beach Library
Borrow Buy
Easy words Advanced Vocabulary
Plot Character
First Date Married

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is an epic novel centered around a Korean family throughout the 20th century. This family experiences poverty, war, love, separation, death and systematic racism. The story also looks at what keeps families together, what can tear them apart, what makes someone a good person, and what makes someone a good person in their own eyes. And, as it is with life, an element of chance and luck is sprinkled throughout the book, much like the game that is its namesake.

This book is a heavy read (literally and figuratively), but the characters are beautifully written, each with love and respect. Also, as a western reader, there was hundreds of years of Korean history and traditions that I was unfamiliar with, but Lee incorporated every detail so smoothly, it never felt like a history lesson.

The book highlights a time and a people that are overlooked in popular history lessons. Though the bulk of the book takes place in the past, the lessons learned from it, particularly about what systemic racism can do to a family, can be applied in how we think about our modern society today.

FHR Tip: For the western reader, Pachinko is a game in casinos, much like Plinko. An example of the game is here. It’s helpful to understand a little about this game, and the context of where it’s played, when reading this book. 

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