BookBrowse Reviews Secondhand World by Katherine Min

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Secondhand World

by Katherine Min

Secondhand World by Katherine Min X
Secondhand World by Katherine Min
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2008, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A daring, haunting, inspired debut

Min's thematically rich debut set in an indeterminate point sometime in the late '60s or early '70s explores coming of age, definitions of beauty, and the trials of growing up between two cultures. Isa's story opens with her as a patient in the pediatric burns unit of Albany hospital, New York following a fire that killed her parents and destroyed their house. How she got there comprises the rest of the story, which consists of a swirl of adolescent angst, failures of communication between parents and child, racial prejudice and a rather too graphic affair with another "outsider" - an albino boy by the name of Hero.

Like a teenager's emotions, the plot is a little erratic at times. Nevertheless, Min ably explores and expresses the dilemma faced by many second-generation children, particularly of Asian origin, whose parents came to America in search of the American Dream but, when raising their own children, find themselves caught between their new world and the cultural mores they grew up with. Min also illuminates a universal truth - that all of us are to an extent "second-generation" children, because we're all born into a secondhand world, "what is novel to us is only so because we're newborn"; and each of us must find our own place in this hand-me-down society.

This review was originally published in November 2006, and has been updated for the February 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...
  • Book Jacket: Look Alive Out There
    Look Alive Out There
    by Sloane Crosley
    After a brief (and thoroughly enjoyable) foray into fiction (with her 2015 novel The Clasp), Sloane ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter Sisters
    Winter Sisters
    by Robin Oliveira
    Winter Sisters begins with an epic blizzard (see Beyond the Book) hitting the entire Northeast of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.