Thursday, March 12, 2009

Miles from Nowhere

Miles from Nowhere
by Nami Mun
304 pages
Riverhead Books
Challenges: Orbis Terarrum, South Korea

Joon sees herself as a regular Korean girl until her father leaves her mother, then her mom ignores her- to the extent of not talking to her, acknowledging her and pretending to be dead. Obviously a cry for help that a very young girl can only handle for so long. Joon goes to find her dad and try to get him to return, he turns her down as greener pastures seem to be calling his name. Soon after that, out of desperation Joon runs away. Her life on the streets goes from dark to darker and then when you think it couldn't get any worse it goes to darkest.

There is plenty of sexual stuff, drugs, well really substance abuse of every type is discussed and abused in this book. Drug activity is high, very high, talk of shooting this, smoking that, cutting, being high, and all this as a young teen. Each time the reader can see the surface and almost feels allowed to come to breathe air, Joon dives down deeper to the despair of the reader.

Well, I don't know what that description does for you, but if you don't like reading the description, don't read Miles from Nowhere. However to its defense, it is different than any book that I have been able to finish to this day. Several times I just couldn't handle the intensity of its graphic nature and had to skip a page, but I kept coming back because Nami Mun is an amazing writer, really she is great, almost humorous at times.

I would love to read a lighter book by her, and really hope she chooses to go that route next time, more cultural and less mental illness-teen pregnancy-suicideish. Yes, so I did think her writing was very good, however not good enough for me to feel that I can recommend this with a clean conscience. I can't. I just say sit this one out and wait on what she brings to the table next time. That is my opinion anyway.

How do you do with books that carry too much gore for their own good? Have you had some that you think really excellent writing, but you just can't bring yourself to recommend them for their content?

Miles from Nowhere

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Serena said...

This sounds like an interesting book, but the gore may be too much for me.

bermudaonion said...

Somehow, I can read things that I could never watch. I guess I can skim over some of it in my mind. I've read several reviews of this book that were just so-so, so I'm on the fence about it.

Anonymous said...

Too much gunk can certainly kill a book for me, yep. I've got a review drafted that was that way — although it was other aspects of depravity in that case.

Nicole said...

I can read quite a bit if the character is compelling and I feel like I am reading a truthful experience. I guess I'm like Kathy in that I can always pull back if something is very the top.

I agree with you that Mun's writing is very good, but the charcters were just a little too detached and I was bit disappointed with the ending. I'm curious to see what she will come out with next.

One Swede Read said...

I keep seeing that book around and the cover just doesn't match the story. I know that's a stupid reason not to read a book, and I've been tempted to read it just because I don't want to read it... I'm a dork, I know. So, I guess I'm saying thanks for your review and I'll take it off my (already huge) TBR-list!

Anonymous said...

the premise sounds captivating...and the issues are ones faced by people who live this lifestyle. i've never been one to shy away from a book for content, but i do avoid graphic/gory movies. thanks for the honest review.

Trish said...

So, I had mentioned that a girl at work chose this for our book club pick. I didn't finish, but two other girls were able to do so (out of about 8). The girl who chose the book sent out an email about a week later and said--sorry, couldn't do it, I'm going to choose another book. So now we're reading A Year in Provence instead. :) I think the thing that bothered me most about this one was that I didn't feel any type of connection to Joon. Everything was so disjointed. I wish I got more of her actual emotions rather than just the laundry list of things that she went through.

Ali said...

I felt the same way: I loved the writing. Didn't love the story. And couldn't think of anyone to pass my copy of the book along to.

Gavin said...

Thanks for the review. It's on my TBR list. Like others, I can read what I can not watch if the story or characters draw me in. I'll just have to see if her writing grabs me.