Publisher: Harvill, 1967.
Link to online store *
From the dust jacket:
Seven years ago, Susie Younger went to South Korea. She has lived there ever since and hopes to remain for the rest of her life. She paints most vivid pictures of this charming and little-known country and of its gay, patient, hard working and desperately poor people, whose life she shares.
Her first venture was to start a home for young bootblacks, boys exploited by their bosses who took most of their earnings from them. Some of them needed both courage and inventiveness to escape and join Susie and her friend Maria in the tiny house where they all lived, in Korean fashion, sleeping on the floor, and on a diet of rice, barley and vegetables.
Once this enterprise was happily established Maria took over sole charge. At the request of the Korean government, and working for the Catholic Archdiocese of Taegu, Susie went on to set up a similar home for country girls who had come to town to look for work, many of whom, owing to the prevailing unemployment, only found it in unfortunate ways.
Their problems were more difficult than those of the shoeshine boys; it was harder for them to escape, and also to adjust to a very different way of life besides which they had to learn some new trade. There have been a few failures, but most of the girls have found self respect and happiness in the home and in a return to ordinary society; many of them have married.
Now, besides these activities, Susie Younger is working for an agricultural scheme which is giving work and extra income to very poor farmers, as well as increasing the local production of food and bringing previously unused land under cultivation.
Susie Younger has identified herself with the Koreans whose life she shares in all material details, and this is the story of adventure, courage and compassion which makes heartening reading.
Susie Younger, born in 1936, is the daughter of Kenneth Younger, a former Minister of State who is at present Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. She was educated at St. Christopher’s School, Letchworth and Somerville College, Oxford, and holds a Social Science certificate from L.S.E. After a year’s social work in England she left for Korea.
The book is sadly now out of print, and only available in libraries and second hand shops. It’s a book which is well-written and full of humanity, with vivid characters and wise observations and insights, and is highly recommended if you can find it.
Read our review of this book here.
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