Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Reader's Diary #2184 - Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada (writers), Ko Hyung-Ju (artist): Banned Book Club

As with Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, I believed Kim Hyun Sook's Banned Book Club would take censored books as a backdrop to discuss the political upheaval in her county during a pivotal time in her life. Basically I foresaw Iran being swapped out for South Korea (early 1980s). I would quickly discover though that the name of the book is somewhat misleading and banned books really weren't much of a focal point. 

Hyun Sook has started university and vows to stay out of trouble (i.e., to stay out the many student protests at the time against the corrupt government). She does however wish to join some extra-curricular activities. But before long she discovers that most, including the Banned Book Club, are mostly just fronts to organize more protests. Seeming to get dragged along at first, eventually she makes friends and begins to believe in their cause. 

Not having much knowledge of upheavals in South Korea, I found this fascinating (especially to my own non-protesting student days). 

The artwork by Ryan Estrada is wonderful, especially in capturing Hyun Sook's initial naivete and the sinister nature of the police who were helping protect the regime. 

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