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Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha book review


Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha book review

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha book review 

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha this is a pretty new release that came out this fall. It's kind of a mystery book but it's like a mystery book with a lot of like depth and history to it.

So this story is loosely based on real life events and it specifically centers around Los Angeles, and there are two different timelines happening in this book. 

One of them takes place in the 90s during the height of the LA race riots and the other one is a modern-day story line. And you're also following two different characters and families during those two points in time. So one of the characters that you are following is this woman named Grace Park. 

She's probably in her like mid to late 20s if I had to estimate. She's a pharmacist so you know she's at least like gone through pharmacy school and things like that. She is of Korean descent, her parents are Korean immigrants. 

And her and her family have sort of like a strained relationship for reasons that she can't quite figure out. Her sister is estranged from her parents and she doesn't really know why her sister won't talk to her parents. 

Her sister is also like extremely liberal and into social justice things. She talks a lot about different injustices that are happening. And since it's happening in modern day, she talks a lot about things like black lives matter movement and things like that. 

The other storyline that you're following is this character named Shawn Matthews who is black. And in the modern-day storyline like his cousin has just gotten out of jail, he previously has served time as well. But he seems to be like getting his life back together. 

But there's a lot of strain in his family as he kind of took on a fatherly role in the place of his cousin who was in jail. And now his cousin's out and there's some like complicated dynamics happening here. 

Both of these families have a history back in the 90s with the LA race riots and I don't really want to say more than that because I think some of the appeal of this book is how things slowly get revealed to you. 

So one day Grace and her mom are working at the pharmacy and they are closing up shop when someone drives by and shoots Grace's mom. She's in the hospital in serious condition. 

And after this shooting happens, a lot of things get revealed about Grace's mom and her family that she never knew about because events happened while she was very, very young or before she was born. 

And so she just had no idea about some of the history in her family and that all gets revealed after this incident happens. And it starts off a series of events. So this is a very good book and a book that really surprised me. I'd read a book by Steph Cha before. 

She wrote, I think it was her debut novel that she wrote that was a mystery book and I liked it. But in this book, she really steps up her game a lot and I think it's partially because it's based on real-life events.

I'm not going to talk about the real-life events because I think that that could potentially spoil things that happen in this story. 

But what Steph Cha is exploring in here is the history of Los Angeles and the history of these types of social justice movements, the LA race riots and how they're talked about and how they're covered and how much or little is known about them to this day. 

But also sort of how that has evolved over time and how the black lives matter movement is taking up a lot of those causes as well and how the movement has changed over time. 

All of that is woven into the fabric of this story. But it's also about how those types of events impact different people in different situations. 

So I think part of the reason why I like the story so much is because it is, one of the perspectives that you're taking is this Korean immigrant, Korean-American perspective where there is a lot of anti-black sentiment within Asian communities. 

I shouldn't make that blanket statement but from my personal experience, there have been a lot of like anti black sentiments woven into Asian American and Asian immigrant perspectives here in the United States. 

And I think it's partially a thing of like not wanting to be treated as badly as them so Asians try to distance themselves as much as possible from them. 

But also like facing their own struggles and difficulties and things like that. And also just like the general seepage of white supremacy into everyone in the world. All of that sort of like plays a factor into the lives of these people. 

But Steph Cha does such a good job of covering it in a way that looks at the complicated and nuanced perspectives that all of these different characters have. 

There are many times in this story where you want to shake grace because she has such a narrow point of view. And it's explained why she has like a very narrow point of view, like she was sheltered her whole life and she talks about that in her this book. 

She being the fictional character. But she sort of like reflects on that, on how little she's been exposed to things of this world and things that are happening 

in this world and how she like lived her life being a good daughter and following this path that her parents wanted her to be, becoming the pharmacist and working in the family pharmacy, doing all of the quote/unquote right things, and how even doing all of those things her world was still shattered pretty dramatically. 

And you see her realize her own prejudices and biases and sometimes she chides herself for that and sometimes she's just like, "well sometimes those things are true of people" and things like that. 

And it's really fantastic how Steph Cha is able to cover that in such a way that's really real. But also at the same time she's looking at things from a black person and a black family's point of view who have been directly impacted by all of these things, people who have been incarcerated and how their lives are affected afterwards, 

the difficulties of coming out from jail and trying to live a quote-unquote normal life. But also what happens when your life is directly impacted by things like racism and how injustice and tragedy can impact your family for generations. 

All of that is explored in this book and I found that so fascinating. So there is like a little bit of a mystery element to this story because you're trying to figure out who shot Grace's mom, and also kind of why her mom was shot because it seems like she was targeted. 

And over time you see revealed sort of all of the different things that happened and how all of the characters in this book are not really innocent. 

And they've all become complicit to different things and how you think that the choices that you're making just affect you and they like ripple out. 

This is a story that feels like so real and so grounded in modern times that I think that it'd be a really great book to read if only to see how other people are seeing our current situation. 

It doesn't excuse it, and it doesn't say that it's okay but at least provides you with that perspective, which I thought was really, really interesting. I don't think that this is a perfect book by any means. Grace is like super grating at times, but that might have been done on purpose. 

And also the ending feels a little bit too neat and quick for my liking. But I think that the ideas and the characters in this book are all really, really interesting and I think that this book is currently like super underrated and more people should be picking it up. 

I don't think everyone's gonna love it but I think that it's a book that speaks really well to the times that we're currently living in. So yeah that is my quick review on your house we'll pay by Steph Cha.

Also read: All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg book review

Also read: The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins 

Also read: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim book

Also read:  There There by Tommy Orange Book 

Also read: The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa Book 



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