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a Korean War orphan raised by fundamentalist parents in California 's house is white, scrubbed and flooded with light.
It sits on a crooked, hilly street in San Rafael and looks out on green, green and more green. Inside, Kim props up her bare feet, sips iced tea and cheerily complains about the hot weather. She's wearing a silky jacket and is kate spade factory bags chatting amiably about the most intimate personal details imaginable. Kim's sunny home and temperament wouldn't be so remarkable if she hadn't just written a memoir so thick with grief and violence that at moments, it's almost unbearable to read. "Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War kate spade canada online shopping Orphan," (Doubleday, $22.95), a tersely written page turner, will eventually be translated into 21 languages. In it, Kim tells how, as a small child in Korea, she watched her uncle and grandfather hang her mother from a wooden rafter in their home. The terrible murder was an "honor killing" punishment for the crime of sleeping with an American soldier and giving birth to Kim, a mixed race child. Stripped of her name and age, Kim was abandoned by relatives at a Christian orphanage in Seoul. Eventually, she was adopted by an American Fundamentalist pastor and his wife who, often in the name of God, treated Kim with astonishing cruelty. They punished her for her confusion, her fears, her appearance. Fear is sinful, they told her. Grieving for her mother is tantamount to blasphemy. "I feel like my mommy's dying," I told my shocked parents. "I feel like I'm going to die too. I want her back. Can't Jesus bring her back..." "Dad slapped my face, back and forth, and the sobs diminished, turning into coughs, then gagging hiccups. The pain of forcing them down into my chest was excruciating. 'She is not your mother!' he yelled at me. 'She was a sinful woman who didn't love you at all. She's in hell.' " Without a loving guide or mentor, Kim's life continued a tragic course. In her homogeneous town in the California desert, Kim stood out horribly. At school, she was called "gook" and had few friends. She hated the way she looked. At age 17, Kim's parents pressured her into marrying a deacon at her church. He beat her, for the first time, hours after their wedding. The abuse was routine. One morning, when Kim was pregnant and too sick to get out of bed to make his breakfast, he jumped on her stomach in his work boots. Ultimately, Kim gave birth to a daughter the first suggestion of joy in the book and, fearing for her child's safety, left her husband. At last, Kim's life began to shift. She took college classes, talked her way into a job at a local newspaper and worked her way up from scrappy papers to larger and larger ones. She made a life for herself and her beloved daughter. Finally, toward the end of the book, Kim described some measure of kate spade sunday healing: meditation, Buddhist teachings, therapy. The constant suicidal thoughts subsided. "I still do think about suicide and I occasionally want it. I don't know if that will ever go away," Kim says. But, at least, when a kate spade dress clearance painful memory surfaces, she no longer is subject to the "knee jerk reaction of wanting to kill myself." "They love me now. I know that for a certainty, even though they don't really know who I am. They tell me that they're proud of me words I would have given anything to have heard in my childhood." Kim's parents, now 91 and 82, understand what is in the book, but all agreed it would be better if they did not read it. They're old and frail, Kim says, and it would be emotionally difficult and probably physically impossible. With age, her parents have softened. A few years ago, her father began calling every few months to apologize for different incidents: the harsh household, the physical punishments, the marriage he essentially arranged. "He feels a lot of guilt and he wants expiation over and over and over," Kim says. Sometimes, he cries about the mistakes he made. Kim forgives him, then they move on, she said. Her parents still live in the same town where she grew up. It's rife with dust devils, weeds and unpleasant memories, Kim says, yet she continues to travel there to care for them. "She's an extraordinarily compassionate person," says, Kim's agent. Breitman and Kim, who met at a Vegetarians in Marin potluck, had no idea at first that they had something to offer each other: an incredible story, encouragement and help selling a book. At first, Kim says, she was reluctant to write a memoir, but Breitman gently talked her into submitting a book proposal. It drew an immediate response. "Virtually every publisher who read it wanted it," Breitman says. "One came back in less than 24 hours and said, 'Name a price.' That was the first time that ever happened to me." Kim, who had recently been named city editor at the, continued working full time and wrote her book at night and on weekends. She sifted through the journals she had kept all her life and started to piece the morbid bits together. "It was pretty much, I'd come home from work, crash, wake up at 3, write for a few hours, roll up in a ball and cry. Then I'd shower and go to work," Kim says. "That entire process of writing the memoir was... oh my God, it was awful. So many times I wanted to give up. I thought, 'Is it worth it? Is it too much? Is it too painful?' " She disappeared for six months, says, a journalism teacher at the and a good friend. " 'Stressful' doesn't even say it. She was really freaked out that someone wanted her to write a book.
Then she was writing about her life and reliving it in some ways. It was very, very difficult.".
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