Foreword Reviews

Concerning My Daughter

An elder care worker struggles with her daughter’s choices in Kim Hye-jin’s moving novel Concerning My Daughter.

A mother raises her child, instills good values, and models appropriate behavior: for the novel’s unnamed narrator, this has always been the way. But when her daughter, Green, decided to move out, she threw it all back into her mother’s face. Green became a university lecturer but kept asking for money and was always around that girl. Disappointed and in denial, her mother vowed she’d had enough.

Unable to refuse when her child asks for help, however, she offers to let Green move back in with her. When Green brings “that girl,” Lane, with her, her mother is horrified. She escapes her home life to focuses on work. At a facility for elderly people, she’s assigned to care for a former activist with dementia. As tensions rise between the mother and daughter, so too do they rise at the facility and at Green’s university. All the while, Lane is there, forcing Green’s mother to confront unacknowledged truths.

The narrator is a silent force. Internally, she struggles with the way that she loves her daughter but does not understand her. In stark yet restrained prose, she circles around the fact that her daughter is gay. She refuses to let herself even think the word, much less acknowledge Lane, or Lane and Green’s seven-year relationship. This deep dive into her thoughts and emotions is stifling. Parallel situations unfold that force the narrator to reckon with a culture of silence and deliberate ignorance and to recognize that neither is conducive to a caring, respectful society.

Concerning My Daughter is a poignant novel that pits established behaviors against potentially better ways of thinking.

Reviewed by Dontaná McPherson-Joseph

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Load Next Review