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The Comfort Bearer af Cathy L. Patrenos

The Comfort Bearer (udgave 2021)

af Cathy L. Patrenos (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
632,143,956 (3)1
Titel:The Comfort Bearer
Forfattere:Cathy L. Patrenos (Forfatter)
Info:TouchPoint Press (2021), 300 pages
Samlinger:Early Reviewers, Læser for øjeblikket

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No book about the "comfort women" is going to be an easy read. And it never should be. This book was reasonably well researched, and the historical events/explanations were well done.

There are entire parts of the book beautifully written. But they are overshadowed by a tendency to have long, long monologues. I found myself actually thinking "show, not tell!" more than once. This seems to go hand in hand with the parts that were almost repetitively graphic. I understand that the author was trying to drive home the brutality and horror of the situations but the techniques actually took me away from the story.

I am also a little set back by how superficial all the characters around her seem to be. Again, I understand that the main character was traumatized and unable to form attachments at some level. But she didn't seem to really, genuinely care for those who risked and sometimes lost everything for her.

It isn't bad. But it could have been better.
  literatefool | Jun 14, 2021 |
The Comfort Bearers, Cathy L. Patrenos

Soon Ja was 16 when her parents were persuaded to let her go from Korea to Japan to work in a silk factory and earn much need money for her family. Where she ended up was at a Comfort Station in Manchuria. Her ability to meditate saves her sanity as she services soldier after soldier. Men, both good and bad, determine the direction of the next few years of her life. Koshiro, the kind Japanese medical doctor who does the in frequent examinations on the woman discovers she is pregnant and has her moved to his home, not as a sexual partner but a guest. Ping, the truck driver and Resistance fighter against the Japanese, who rescues her when she and the doctor are arrested. Rescued from death but not from a return to the Comfort Station life. Determined to find a way to gather information for the Resistance she prepares herself to be selected by Colonel Yamada, the new camp commander, as his ‘woman.’ This leads her to Shanghai where the Colonel is killed in a terrorist bombing and she is severely injured. Akira, Yamada’s aide, and a Red Cross nurse protect her during her recovery. She ends the war as a nurse before returning to Korea. Years later she testifies on her experiences in a class-action suit against the government of Japan but it takes years for a decision. However it does bring the story full circle when she is reunited with her family.

Prior to and during World War II over 200,000 women from across Asia, with the majority from Korea, were forced to work as Comfort Women by the Japanese military. Other more appropriate terms would be prostitute or sex worker or whore. There is historical documentation on this although it is still strongly denied in Japan or told with a different slant that recognizes men’s needs, not women’s rights. It is clear the author did a fair amount of research into this and the ongoing conflicts between Japan and Russia, Manchuria and China prior to WW II.

I liked the book and learned from it however I feel there was too much repetition on her meditations. They were important to her but I didn’t need to be told more than a couple of times. This includes the mountain descriptions. Also the atrocities that Japan’s military practiced are overused in making the point. I felt she was reaching to deface Japan when she had already clearly established its place in history. Readers do forget some details but don’t want to be bombarded by them over and over to ensure they don’t.
On the whole it is an interesting accounting of a little know historical event that violated international law and was a crime against humanity.


Reviewed June 1, 2021 ( )
  pmarshall | Jun 1, 2021 |
I struggled with this book. Oh how I have struggled. I wanted to like this so much. Japan would like to forget this portion of their history so I think more easily accessible books about it are important. But it's also a fairly fraught subject matter and, for me, this book does not stand up to the topic.

Parts of the book are beautifully written and almost lyrical. Other parts are so staccato that it's jarring. (I'm sure it was done to convey emotional upset, but the choices of which parts were like that didn't feel appropriate). And it seemed that huge parts of the book were just lots and lots of exposition. (Yes, the Rape of Nanking, etc are topically important, but the way the information is shared is like the book wandered into a dry history lesson.) It seems out of place. The same with all of the storytelling asides. So many little fables and stories told between characters but they rarely felt like authentic interactions to me.

Ultimately I think that was my problem. This felt inauthentic. Perhaps I expected too much (entirely possible) or perhaps what feels insincere to me will break another's heart to pieces. But as much as I wanted to, I could not connect to or care about the characters. There wasn't enough depth for me to truly feel invested. Instead, I kept feeling like I was reading bland YA, which is the last thing I wanted when it came to this book. ( )
  Aug3Zimm | May 28, 2021 |
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