Saturday, April 17, 2021

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha


IF I HAD YOUR FACE is a multi-POV story set in Korea. It revolves around Kyrui, Miho, Ara, and Wonna. All of them lead very different lives but their intertwining journeys share one similar theme: navigating the misogyny and rigorous gender norms for women.

The beginning of the book is very strong but after the 50% mark, it kind of peters out. Kyrui and Ara are the best narrators, in my opinion. Kyuri is a hostess who used to be a prostitute and Ara is a hair stylist who is unable to speak due to injury, but despite her apparent weakness, she has a core of iron. Miho and Wonna are less compelling. Miho felt too much like a composite of Kyuri and Ara and Wonna had an interesting backstory but her present narrative was uninteresting.

I was actually kind of shocked at how short this book was, because it felt like there wasn't adequate room to accomplish everything that it set out to do, and I wasn't really convinced that the author knew how to cohesively end all of the narrative threads she had begun. I think parring the narrators down to just one or two might have been better. Kyuri could have carried the book all on her own, to be honest.

I would read more by this author but ultimately I was kind of disappointed by this book. I guess I was hoping it would focus more on viciously taking down the Korean beauty industry while ascribing agency to its unreliable female narrators.

2.5 to 3 out of 5 stars

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