This week I read “A Step From Heaven” by An Na. I thought this story was very inspirational! It talks about serious issues like domestic violence and the hardships put on immigrants to assimilate to American cultures. Young Ju manages all of this in Na’s story and it is a very heartfelt read indeed! The story starts off with showing Ju moving with her parents. They move from Korea to what Young Ju calls “heaven” which is actually America and this is where the title of the book comes into play as they are “A Step From Heaven” because America isn’t what Young Ju had quite imagined. Young Ju and her parents make a couple of different moves in the beginning of the book but they ultimately end up in a slum. As Young Ju gets older she tries to hide her home identify to her new American friends and this leads her to feel isolated and lonely as she is trying to hide each side of her life from the other. Young Ju finds herself trying to protect her brother and mother from her drunken father and this causes for Young Ju to become the hero of the story. Hero as in calling the police on her father, rightfully knowing he will go to jail and he will be angrier than ever afterwards but a night without him was worth it. After her father, Apa gets out of jail, instead of going home to Young Ju and his family he leaves with a different woman. This makes Young Ju look like the bad guy in her mothers eyes, like she made her Father leave. In the end, it was for everybody’s well being.
This story has a lot of different heavy aspects to it and it follows along Young Ju’s life until she is ready to go to college. An Na is a writer that I am not too familiar with but her writing is almost poetry like as her words just glide along the page. None of this story felt forced either, even when Na was talking about more deep, overwhelming scenes it was still very realistic and natural. The real thing about this story is that even though there are harsh realities in this book, Young Ju always keeps her priorities in check and sees the good in each day. This makes me think about how we should look at life and focus on what we have control of and make those aspects of our lives better instead of dwelling on what is out of our control.