“I would live your life so much better than you, if I had your face.”-Frances Cha, If I Had Your Face
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication year: 2020
Page count: 288
Rating: 3 stars
Blurb (From Goodreads):
Kyuri is a heartbreakingly beautiful woman with a hard-won job at a “room salon,” an exclusive bar where she entertains businessmen while they drink. Though she prides herself on her cold, clear-eyed approach to life, an impulsive mistake with a client may come to threaten her livelihood.
Her roommate, Miho, is a talented artist who grew up in an orphanage but won a scholarship to study art in New York. Returning to Korea after college, she finds herself in a precarious relationship with the super-wealthy heir to one of Korea’s biggest companies.
Down the hall in their apartment building lives Ara, a hair stylist for whom two preoccupations sustain her: obsession with a boy-band pop star, and a best friend who is saving up for the extreme plastic surgery that is commonplace.
And Wonna, one floor below, is a newlywed trying to get pregnant with a child that she and her husband have no idea how they can afford to raise and educate in the cutthroat economy.
Together, their stories tell a gripping tale that’s seemingly unfamiliar, yet unmistakably universal in the way that their tentative friendships may have to be their saving grace.
This book was definitely not what I expected. When I put in a hold for this novel at the library, I literally thought it was a memoir, which is very much was not. Although I only gave this book 3 stars, I am still happy that I read it and hope my rating doesn’t discourage other readers from picking it up.
This book very much focuses on the beauty standards in place for women in South Korea. In this book, many of the characters have undergone multiple plastic surgeries to mold their faces into perfection, putting them in thousands of dollars of debt and leaving life long side effects. However, in order to be successful, this is what women are expected to do, even if they can’t afford to. This was a fascinating topic to read about, and was something I honestly didn’t know existed. Of course, we see an unrealistic beauty standard in the States, but I have personally never seen anything so extreme. Apparently, this is an expectation in South Korea for women.
I think my biggest problem with this book was that there for 4 perspectives. Multiple perspectives usually don’t bother me, but since this book was so short (less than 300 pages), I felt like I didn’t know any of the characters by the end of the book, only snippets of each one. Each character had such an interesting story and saw life in such a unique way, that I would have loved to be able to spend more time with them. It just made it a little underwhelming, even though their relationships all tied together in the end.
I think the author did a very good job at creating a unique character for all of the perspectives, which must have been hard to do since there were four. Even on the audiobook, I was able to keep track of all their stories and separate them from each other with ease. In fact, I think the audiobook helped because each character was narrated by a different actress. This was definitely helpful for me, but I understand how it might be confusing for others because it could be tricky to follow along.
All in all, this was an interesting story and I definitely would read this author in the future, I think I just had the wrong expectations going in.
What did you think of this book? Leave your thoughts in the comments!