Palimpsest: Documents from a Korean Adoption – Lisa Wool-Rim Sjoblom

    Palimpsest: Documents from a Korean Adoption – Lisa Wool-Rim Sjoblom, Drawn & Quarterly, (9781770463301), 2019

Format:  Paperback

Genre: Graphic Biography

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 3

What did you like about the book?  The author documents her search for her birth records from Korea in this insightful memoir.  Raised by loving parents in Sweden, Lisa still keenly felt her otherness. Becoming a mother sends her on a quest to discover her biological roots in Korea.  The process is time-consuming and often frustrating as she deals with a foreign government and social services. Lisa sadly uncovers the tragic, dark side of adoption as she learns of “paper orphans,” babies who are sold for money. In her quest she also comes to fully understand family, motherhood and the love of the family who chose her.  She includes numerous reproductions of letters as well as adoption records in the panels. The illustrations on a parchment are beautifully rendered and full of detail. This is a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story about finding oneself.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The graphic novel is quite verbose with a lot of reproductions of adoption records and letters that make it slow moving for those not personally invested in the adoption experience.

To whom would you recommend this book?   This graphic novel would be of interest to those who have gone through the adoption process, especially foreign adoption.  Parents and young adults involved in the adoption experience would find this a very moving memoir. 

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Graphic Novels

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?   Yes if you are interested in foreign adoption.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:         12/18/19           


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