Hey Everyone! My name is Max, and I will be reviewing a book christened Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi today! Before we move to the review section of this article, I would like to thank Pansing for sending a copy of this book to me. So, without further ado, let us dive right in!
Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.
On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.
Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.
“Humans need to share their darkest parts. Unburdening makes you closer to everyone.”
― Mary H.K. Choi, Yolk
This novel was not what I thought it would be, but it surpassed my expectations and left an indelible mark on me as it proceeded to transcend through space and time.
This story follows Jayne Baek as she navigates through life in the glamorous New York City. She hasn’t kept company with her sister (who, by the way, lives in NYC as well) in a while and has been residing in an enervated apartment with her housemate christened Jeremy. Jayne has been avoiding her sister, June, in the city due to their eclectic differences and she feels discomfited when she is around her. When the news of June’s sickness hits Jayne, the sisters are thrown together once again to provide aid and reliance on one another. This event puts other sequences into action and they are, eventually, coerced to confront Jayne’s eating disorder, the family drama that lingers in the corner of their mind, and the secrets that each of them has.
Mary H.K. Choi’s masterful writing has revitalized and shaped a story that would otherwise be promulgated as another cliché, sickness story. The author has imbued life and an unembellished sense of realism into every single word of this book that you could feel the vivacity of the characters and the surroundings while you are reading this novel.
I thought the author dealt with Jayne’s eating disorder fantastically as she does not sugarcoat anything and you could clearly see Jayne’s calamitous relationship with food and the frustration, guilt, and continual calorie counting that come with it throughout the novel. In addition, I thought June’s fear of death and her rustic way of life as a person with a huge amount of money in her bank account were extremely believable and well-written.
I knew this was a character-driven story from the get-go as the characters had the dynamism, vibrancy, and flaws of a human being from real life that a plot-driven story most evidently lacked. From the book, you will perceive Jayne’s personality as unlikeable, self-obsessed, and rude at the very beginning of the novel. However, her characterization unfolds to display her inner disposition the deeper you wallow in the book, and eventually, you will reach a point where you will be able to find her true nature and growth. The same goes for June. She may seem stern and mildly toxic to Jayne at the beginning, but the more you read, the more you realize she is not who you think she is. And that, ladies and gentlemen and non-binaries of the internet, is called multi-dimensional characters with tremendous character developments.
I enjoyed reading the depiction of a tortuous relationship Jayne had with her mother. It felt extremely raw and authentic. I also loved how among the havoc and wreckage, Jayne found love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
I don’t really have any problem with this novel, but there is a line in this novel that still bothers me to this day. The line goes like this: ‘“You sisters?” asks the younger doorman in a pale-gray uniform when I speak her name. Feels racist even if it’s true.‘ I don’t understand why the author felt the need to include this line in the novel because there is nothing racist about saying someone’s name.
In conclusion, this novel will obtain a score of 95% (A+) from me. It is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, and this makes me eager to read other books by this author. I might end up purchasing all the books she has written in the future? Who knows? Only time will tell.
This is the end of my review for Yolk By Mary H.K. Choi! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!