An international best-seller and it fuelled a young feminist movement, Cho Nam Joo took experiences of her own life to write the short novella. Her debut, 2016 concerns mental health, women’s lives and the sexism endured by many. Cho Nam Joo wrote to ignite a public debate, hence the common references to research papers make a convincing argument. Her matter-of-fact and unsentimental style encourages the reader to consider the text rationally. If the reader can connect all these experiences to the wider patriarchal structures, they too can be emancipated.
The everyday microaggressions take a toll on Jiyoung’s life as she suffers from mental health episodes. Her male co-workers are quickly promoted, there are unwanted advances at work, her husband asks her to sacrifice her job for a child to “avoid the lectures” (p.122) from his parents. The role of a housewife role isn’t valued in society, these women are often called “mom-roach” (p.153) by the wider public. Jiyoung’s story is one that all women can relate to, and though none of the events are alarming to women, it’s reassuring that an author can get it exactly right when society and politics often gaslights and ignores us. This book would be great for a young teen and hopefully encourages understanding of feminist struggle.
This book pairs well with Invisible women: exposing data bias in a world designed for men by Caroline Criado-Perez.