Please Look After Mother Book Review and Quotes

A mother's love is the most wonderful gift any person in this world can have. It is an everlasting love. A mother can give everything she has and do anything for her son or daughter. She can love without conditions and without boundaries. It's always amazing how she can care more of her child's welfare than her own. These things are known to all of us but do we really appreciate the presence of our mothers in our lives? That's the question I asked myself as I read Kyung-Sook Shin's bestseller novel, Please Look After Mother. When I finished the entire book, I became more aware of my love for my mom and felt the need to continue showing it to her.

The Book

The award-winning novel is all about Park So-nyo, a mother of five children, who got lost in a train station. Only when she suddenly vanishes that the family started to remember who she really is and what she does for all of them. As they desperately search for their lost "mother," they discovered the never-ending love, support and hope that So-nyo has given them. The children realized that they were all busy with their own lives to the point that they were not able to have deep conversations with their mother nor made her feel extra-special. The husband was also reminded of how he walked fast ahead of his wife whenever they go to public places, how he left the house without saying a word to his wife and how he got angry whenever the wife forgets something. All of them needed to lose So-nyo before they can re-examine the kind of relationship they had with "Mother."

What made this book exceptional is the way the author presented the different point of views of the characters. The first chapter, Nobody Knows, was in the daughter's voice. The second chapter, I'm Sorry Hyong-chol, was in the son's voice. I'm Home, the third chapter, the husband's / father's. The last one, Another Woman, was written in the mother's voice. Please Look After Mother is such a powerful novel. It depicts how a mother can love unconditionally. It shows how children can be ungrateful to their mother despite what she has sacrificed for the entire family. It portrays a situation where children have grown up, got their own lives and eventually neglected the presence of their mother. It also narrates how a husband can take his wife for granted through the years of being together. The book serves as a reminder that one does not need to lose his ever-loving mother or wife before he can value her presence. 

I don't want to exaggerate things but there were paragraphs that made me burst into tears. Those were composed of sentences and words that truly broke my heart. I refreshed my memory of the times when I chose to skip conversations with my mom because I was too tired to talk, the times when I felt annoyed with her never-ending questions about how my day went, the days when I partied late at night while she patiently waited for me to come home, the weekends when I attended events instead of inviting her out for movie dates and all those times when I failed to express my affection towards her.

For all of these, I thank the author Kyung-Sook Shin. She gave me an opportunity to look at my relationship with my mom in a bigger picture. She made me realize how lucky I am to have a mother who never gives up on me, who always believes that I can do everything I want, who stays on my side to cheer me up in rough times and who always make me feel that I am loved. When I turned on the last page of the book, I smiled and made a promise that no matter what happens and whatever it takes, I will always do everything to make my mom happy.

Now, the most important question is "Did Mother disappear suddenly, or was it a gradual process?" 

Please Look After Mother Quotes

"The things that had been suppressed, that had been carefully avoided moment by moment, became bloated, and finally you all yelled and smoked and banged out the door in range."

"How far back does one's memory of someone go?"

"There are moments one revisits after something happens, especially after something bad happens. Moments in which one thinks, I should have done that."

"Either a mother and daughter know each other very well, or they are strangers."

"Most things in the world are not unexpected if one thinks carefully about them. Even something one would call unusual - if one thinks about it, it's really just a thing that was supposed to happen."

"When was the last time you'd told Mother about something that had happened to you? At a certain point, the conversation between you and Mother became simplified."

"There couldn't have been a farewell as sorrowful as that."

"You were caught off guard. You had never thought of Mother as separate from the kitchen. Mother was the kitchen and the kitchen was Mother. You never wondered, did Mother like being in the kitchen?"

"Instead of running away, he stood still, silent, and suffered her blows."

"A man has to be dignified."

"Habit can be a frightening thing."

"Why didn't you know then that you had a peaceful and lucky life?"

"Since you came into this world as human, you have to live happily with your mate."

"They say that although there's an order to when people come into this world, there isn't one when you leave, but we should go in the order we came."

"Since your wife has gone missing, your heart feels as if it will explode every time you think about your fast walk."

"So, whatever happens, you have to keep writing well."

"Now I feel like I could say anything and everything but there's nobody to listen to me."

"Please... Please look after your mother."

"Even if everyone in the world forgets, your daughter will remember. That your wife truly loved the world, and that you loved her."

"Poor thing. She pretends she's strong, but she's all soft inside."

"I have to go now, but I can't seem to make myself leave."

"Honey. Please remember that you were always a source of happiness for me."

"And with that freedom, you often showed me another world, so I wanted you to be even freer. I wanted you to be so free that you would live your life for other people."

"I was happy so many days of my life because I had you."

"Life is sometimes amazingly fragile, but some lives are frighteningly strong."

"She says that all the things that have happened are actually in the present, that old things are all mixed in with current things, and current things mingle with future things, and future things are combined with old things, it's just that we can't feel them."

"I knew that one day I wouldn't remember anything. And before that happened, I wanted to take care of everything."

"Everything I forgot about is rushing back."

"Had she really disappeared due to one missed train in Seoul Station, or had Mother been gradually disappearing for years?"

Please Look After Mother is highly-recommended for all ages. If you love your mother so much, then please grab a copy of this book written by an Asian author from Korea. The novel is a winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012. So, what are you waiting for? Go to the nearest book store, purchase the book and allow the author to share a beautiful story you will never forget. Nothing will ever be the same again. 

Always remember, please look after mother.


  1. That's an interesting read. I haven't read a book for some time now and I can note this for future reference.

  2. This sounds like a great book to read, namiss ko tuloy si Mama.

  3. Seems a heartfelt piece of prose. Seldom that we read good books written by Korean author. Am I right? Gosh, Asian writers are leveling up na. Miss ko tuloy ang mom ko.

  4. Wow, I would love to read this book-- thanks for sharing! I hope copies would be available in our local bookstores.

  5. This seems to be a very good book. I'm sure everyone with a mom could relate to the characters. I am both a mom and a daughter. And I wonder if I could be strong enough to read this book without shedding a tear or two. My mom and I always fight before, because we're so different from each other. But now as I grow older, all I want is to be able to take care of her and my father as they grow old and have more years to share with them.

  6. i do find this book very intriguing and interesting, i might look for an ebook version and hopefully to find a free copy.

  7. The best books are the ones that can make you well up. ^_^ Sounds a bit like Haruki Murakami's style, would love to read this too. "You only realize the importance of someone when she's gone," would be an apt quote for this.

  8. Is there a spoiler? I didn't read your review because I haven't read this book and I don't want to spoil the book for me hehe.

  9. I can tell that this is a very good book. I've missed a lot of times with my mom, and now that I am a thousand miles away from her, I realized that I need to make up with so much time and conversations lost. My mom and I always fight before, but I love her so much. Nothing compares to the love of our mothers here on earth, and I am trying and doing all my best to do that to my own family as well, being the best mother in the world, which by the way, is really tough.

  10. This book is really a tribute to the mothers who loved their children unconditionally. In my case, I always return the favor to my mom by bringing her out to a resto and have a good time together while munching the food. Can't forget how we were fed at Hog's Breath Cafe last year when we really had a blast! :D

  11. Now, I'm so interested to read this book. I wish I can find this somewhere. I can relate!


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