Five Stars

Despite content that could be very hard to stomach, the story is told in a very light and gentle way. A magical sprinkling of fairy dust covers the harder edges of reality, making it seem dream-like and otherworldly. And it’s a glamour that coats the truth that would be too much for a young child to bear.

Shay is an Korean adoptee, raised in an affluent Caucasian household. Materially, she is very privileged, but her family is in no position to truly support and nurture her emotionally and spiritually. Quite frankly, I think each parent is trapped in his/her own personal hell, contact with which may be unavoidable when one deals with these people. Her parents are fakes. And they’ve lived the lie for so long that the truth will threaten everything they have.

Shay grows up wanting to believe the lie that she grows up in, but she never quite gels with it. She notices things that don’t add up, and things that she tries to forget. And her feelings don’t lie, though it takes a while for her to dare to listen to what they tell her. For her, growing up is a rough ride, and she has more than her fair share of unpleasant experiences as a young woman. But they aren’t the ones that precipitate the coma that she finds herself in at the start of the novel.

Keurium was very easy to read, and the short chapters helped to move the story along at a faster pace. The first half is pretty sickening, as Shay describes her life with her fractured family, who uses Shay as a prop to make them appear to be more loving and generous than they are capable of being. In the latter half, things pick up speed as Shay begins to grasp the truth of her situation. Towards the end, things begin to look very bright, but there is still room for twists and suspense. And there are snakes as well as ladders.

If done well, I think this could be made into a very memorable film, because there is plenty of striking visual imagery. —Rin Hoshigumo