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The Vegetarian Book Review
With hints of feminism and vegetarianism, you’ll close this book thinking “what did I just read?” It’s a quick story, but it isn’t what you’d expect.
In addition to Pride & Prejudice, J. Mackenzie picked this title for October book club pick and I’m glad she did — but not because it was the best book I’ve ever read.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang wasn’t what I expected it to be. I found myself shaking my head and thinking “WTF” many times throughout this short novel.
It definitely pushed my comfort zone with reading. There were some disturbing moments along with confusing moments, but we both agreed that the description on the back of the book didn’t match what we read.
Amber went in expecting this would be told from the female character’s POV, but it’s actually written by the people who know her, her husband, her brother-in-law and her sister — each having their own story (or section) to tell. Each person reflects on this woman’s struggle. You hear about this woman’s struggle with food, with her body, with her mind as those around her understand it, as they try to love her, protect her, support her, use her to their own ends.
The book is a reflection on autonomy, on women’s roles in modern day Korea, on compassion, ambition, selfishness and family dynamics. All of the characters are inherently flawed and inward looking. So, what do they do when someone becomes a shell of who they were? How do they project their own ambitions onto someone whose only power is to decide to not eat? Can they even take that away from her?
This is an abstract, feminist-leaning book. If this sounds like something you’d be into, rent from your local library or order The Vegetarian. We’d love to hear your review.