by An Na
A Step From Heaven is a quiet, elegant little book that tells the story of an immigrant family who moves from Korea to California. Narrated by the daughter Young Ju, it depicts the everyday struggles of adjusting to a new culture in a strange land. Everything is difficult: job searches, learning English, attending school, living as tenants; all these things slowly wear the family down. Disempowered by his inability to navigate through American culture, the father looses control as head of the family and slides into a pattern of drinking and abuse. Even as parents and siblings shift roles and come to live as strangers, Young Ju discovers the strength in herself to step forward and claim identity and hope in her new place.
Rating: 4/5 …….. 160 pages, 2001