SAYING GOODBYE by Marie G. Lee

SAYING GOODBYE

Age Range: 12 - 17
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 In a sequel to Finding My Voice, 1992, Lee subjugates story to issues: the tragic conflicts generated by racial prejudice and striving for racial solidarity and identity. Like older sister Michelle, Ellen (Myong-Ok, as her well-to-do Korean-born parents call her), is now a Harvard premed. New close friend and roommate Leecia assumes that Ellen will be as concerned with her Korean heritage as Leecia is with her African-American roots, but Ellen is more interested in studying creative writing with an eminent professor/author. Still, she takes up extracurricular tae kwon do and meets classmate Jae, who teaches her Korean and confides that his parents' grocery was destroyed in the L.A. riots. Eventually, newly sensitized by this and other events--and despite her real understanding of Leecia's point of view--Ellen plays a pivotal role in a demonstration against a virulently racist, anti-Korean rap musician whose appearance Leecia has arranged. The girls' friendship is virtually destroyed, though there's a partial reconciliation at the end. In essence, though lightly disguised as fiction, this is an essay on racism in all its diversity, if less than its full complexity. It's also a plausible (if overdetailed) picture of life on campus, with idealized but likable characters and lively dialogue that's a tad too accessible to be realistic (these kids sound more like high school students than Harvard undergrads). Still, a thoughtful, unsimplistic message in a form many YAs will find enjoyable. (Fiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-395-67066-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994




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