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Shelter by Jung Yun book review

Shelter by Jung Yun book review

Shelter by Jung Yun book review 

Shelter by Jung Yun. And this is a book that was all over booktube around like three, four years ago and I completely missed the boat on it. And again, this is like another one of those stories where 

I was at a used bookstore and I saw that this was at the bookstore and I was like oh, there are so many people who love this book. 

I should probably pick it up. And then I read it this weekend and completely devoured it and like absolutely loved it. 

So in this book, you are following a character named Kyung. He is of Korean descent. He is married to a white woman named Jillian and they have a son together named Ethan. 

They are currently going through some significant financial troubles. They're upside down on their house and they were considering selling their home in order to like get some sort of money on it because they know that they're not gonna be able to keep up with the mortgage payment or something along those lines. 

And so the story begins with a realtor in their house sort of assessing their home and trying to figure out what exactly they're going to do, when the realtor like looks outside and sees that there is a woman outside who is naked walking towards the house. 

And she like points it out and Kyung and Jillian realized very quickly that that is actually Kyung's mother. So Kyung is not on speaking terms with his family. 

And at the beginning of the book you're not really sure what exactly is going on but, he like runs to her with a towel like completely embarrassed and trying to figure out what exactly is going on. 

The mother is speaking to Kyung in Korean probably because she's traumatized and Kyung doesn't like speak it fluently. And so he's trying to figure out what she's saying. 

And he thinks he hears her say something along the lines of like your father did this or your father hurt me or something along those lines. And so that's kind of where the story starts off. 

However that's not really everything in the story that's going on. It actually turns out that Kyung's parents Jinn and Mae have been robbed and when they're found like they were violently hurt. 

Their maid shows up and she ends up getting extremely hurt as well. And so Mae and the maid are in the hospital for a little while. 

Everything basically changes because Kyung realizes that he has to take his parents in for a certain period of time and it basically forces him to reckon with his past and everything that he has been trying to like ignore or put behind him or, you know, not deal with for a really long time. 

Because like in his mind he's been trying really hard to keep his distance from his parents. So this book is kind of like a domestic drama thriller kind of — maybe, not a thriller. 

Suspense is probably a better word for it because there's a lot going on here. First of all there's a crime that occurred at Kyung's parents house, which the criminals are like at large. And so that's one part of the story. 

The other part of the story is kind of just like what exactly happened in their house. You start to get like bits and pieces of it as they like give statements to the police and different facts start to come up. 

And so that's like a huge part of the story. But like the majority of this book is about Kyung dealing with his like anger and guilt and him talking about things that had happened in his past and in his history that he never really talked to Jillian about before. 

And how that's sort of impacting his life and his family, especially now that he's forced to take his parents in and deal with that. And then there's this whole other aspect of the story that has to do with like Korean life, Korean culture, Korean family life and things like that, which just also was so fascinating.

So I really enjoyed this book. I actually listen to this on audiobook. I almost listened to the whole thing in one day because I was so intrigued to see what was going to happen in this story and what the truth was.

Like it was very clear that there was more going on here than was being explained to the reader at the beginning of the story. 

And so like I couldn't stop reading this book, or I couldn't stop the desire to keep reading this book or listening to this book because I desperately wanted to know what was actually happening in this family, and then therefore, like how everything was going to turn out in the end. 

This is a book with a lot of twists that I didn't see coming. There's also a lot of like discussion in here about Korean church life and that whole aspect of it and sort of like growing up and holding on to resentments from your childhood. 

Again, things about Korean family life, which as someone who's Indian I recognize a lot of that as well and I feel like there are a lot of things in here that I recognize, not in my own family necessarily thankfully. 

But just like in people that I know around me and things like that about pride and sort of hiding what's actually going on in your family life because you don't want other people to know the shameful things that are happening. 

There are just so many things in this book that are so well done. I think part of it is like how effortless it feels. The author does an amazing job of creating this tension. 

And like I could feel the tension in my body as I was listening to this book because you know like things are gonna blow up but you just don't know how they're gonna blow up or when they're gonna blow up. 

And the thing is is with this book is that there are actually quite a few explosions that happen. And I didn't really expect this book to be as much as it is for this short of a book that it is. 

There's so much plot that happens in here that even my synopsis is like just barely scratching the surface of what actually is happening in this story. 

It's a true family drama that like looks at marriage and the complications of marriage and then sort of like the baggage that people bring into the marriage and how that affects how things go. 

You know, childhood trauma, abuse, obviously trigger warnings for things along those lines. It's not like explicit in the abuse but they like to talk about past abuse and things along those lines. So I do feel like I should mention that. 

But I feel like this book just so expertly weaves the way that people try to hide those things in their lives and sort of the pressure that creates and the tension that creates within all of the people who are sort of holding on to the secret and what happens when all of that blows up. Yeah, this book is amazing and brilliant and I thought it was so, so well done. 

I've seen like a couple of people on Goodreads, cause like I went on Goodreads to give it my rating, and I saw a couple of people talk about how they couldn't really like connect with Mae. 

And I think that's done on purpose because that's kind of how, in my experience, a lot of Asian women are especially when it comes to things like trauma and pain and abuse. 

They hold it back and they hold it in and I think that you're not supposed to also fully understand Mae because it was mostly told through Kyung's point of view, her son. 

And so he doesn't completely understand his mother either and he like blames her for a lot of the stuff that happened in there. But yeah he like holds his parents at a distance so you don't really fully get to understand them as much as you might want to. 

But yeah, this look it's like tragic but so like beautifully written in the sense of like I felt like you really understand where these characters are coming from, or at least like these three members of this family are really coming from. Not that you really like forgive them, but like Kyung is such an asshole. 

I usually don't swear on my channel but there were so many times in this book where I wanted to like punch him in the face. 

But by the end of it, you'll also kind of understand why he's like that. It's not like excusing his behavior but you're just like well I guess I kind of get why you're like this now. 

And even his parents and things like that, like I feel like I got it. I think I understood why they're like this and again maybe that just comes from my like cultural experience and background, having seen this up close in real life. 

But I just thought this like so beautifully captures all of that sort of tension and pride and anxiety and all of that so, so well. 

So yeah, I love this book so much. I was like wavering between a 4 and a 5-star rating. So I think this is more like a four-and-a-half-star rating. I'm not like crazy about the way things ended but I do like the ending. 

But yeah, this book completely took me by surprise. Even though like everyone I knew who had read this book absolutely adored it, I still was completely surprised by how good this book was. 

So if you were like me and like heard about this book forever ago and never picked it up, I highly recommend picking it up. Or maybe you're hearing about this book for the first time, I highly recommend you pick up. 

So yeah, I give this one a 4 and a half stars. So, so good and definitely like one of the best, if not the best, book I've read so far this year. So those are my quick thoughts on shelter by Jung Yun. 

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