Hot Best Seller

Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems

Availability: Ready to download

A provocative and furious book about race, culture, identity and what it means to be an inter-country adoptee in America Julayne Lee was born in South Korea to a mother she never knew. When she was an infant, she was adopted by a white Christian family in Minnesota, where she was sent to grow up. Not My White Savior is a memoir in poems, exploring what it is to be a transrac A provocative and furious book about race, culture, identity and what it means to be an inter-country adoptee in America Julayne Lee was born in South Korea to a mother she never knew. When she was an infant, she was adopted by a white Christian family in Minnesota, where she was sent to grow up. Not My White Savior is a memoir in poems, exploring what it is to be a transracial and inter-country adoptee, and what it means to grow up being constantly told how better your life is because you were rescued from your country of origin. Following Julayne Lee from Korea to Minnesota and finally to Los Angeles, Not My White Savior asks what does "better" mean? In which ways was the journey she went on better than what she would have otherwise experienced? Not My White Savior is angry, brilliant, unapologetic, and unforgiving. A vicious ride of a book that is sure to spark discussion and debate.


Compare

A provocative and furious book about race, culture, identity and what it means to be an inter-country adoptee in America Julayne Lee was born in South Korea to a mother she never knew. When she was an infant, she was adopted by a white Christian family in Minnesota, where she was sent to grow up. Not My White Savior is a memoir in poems, exploring what it is to be a transrac A provocative and furious book about race, culture, identity and what it means to be an inter-country adoptee in America Julayne Lee was born in South Korea to a mother she never knew. When she was an infant, she was adopted by a white Christian family in Minnesota, where she was sent to grow up. Not My White Savior is a memoir in poems, exploring what it is to be a transracial and inter-country adoptee, and what it means to grow up being constantly told how better your life is because you were rescued from your country of origin. Following Julayne Lee from Korea to Minnesota and finally to Los Angeles, Not My White Savior asks what does "better" mean? In which ways was the journey she went on better than what she would have otherwise experienced? Not My White Savior is angry, brilliant, unapologetic, and unforgiving. A vicious ride of a book that is sure to spark discussion and debate.

30 review for Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    I’m a bit on the fence with this one. It is billed as a memoir in poems. This does give one a sense of her experiences as an adopted child from Korea, but not really anything on specific events in her life. One thing that comes through very clearly is that Julayne Lee is angry - at her adoptive parents, adoptive country, the adoption agency, and her birth country. The poems lack imagery and any subtlety, but I enjoyed them for what they teach.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    I'm torn on Julayne Lee's Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems. She was born in South Korea and adopted by a White Christian family from Minnesota. Lee was raised there until she moved to Los Angeles. Not My White Savior is about her journey finding out her heritage while being constantly told how fortunate she was to no longer be in South Korea. On the one hand, Lee's poetry is tragic as details the sad fates from other Korean adoptees. Part V: A Holocaust of Children's Death Should Not Inspi I'm torn on Julayne Lee's Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems. She was born in South Korea and adopted by a White Christian family from Minnesota. Lee was raised there until she moved to Los Angeles. Not My White Savior is about her journey finding out her heritage while being constantly told how fortunate she was to no longer be in South Korea. On the one hand, Lee's poetry is tragic as details the sad fates from other Korean adoptees. Part V: A Holocaust of Children's Death Should Not Inspire Me is particular heartbreaking. It's a list of adopted Koreans who committed suicide. However, on the other hand, I found Lee particularly whiny. These tragedies didn't seem like hers but others who have the right to feel that anger and indignation. It's akin of me writing about slavery like it happened to me. It made Lee's memoir disingenuous. It's a shame because Lee can write. Her poetry is beautiful. However, it's not really a memoir.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lainey

    Beautiful. Honest. Brutal. Inspirational.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alyse

    As a transracial adoptee, this is the truth that needs to be heard. Thank you Julayne for writing yours.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Nicole

    Beautiful. Powerful. Heart breaking. Really makes you 🤯 about international adoption. As a different kind of adoptee (non international) it also made me think about the factors behind my own adoption and others like me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I used to think of inter-country adoption in simple terms - “unwanted children” blessed with “better lives” in the West. Then I went to China and learned about some of the coercion if not outright confiscation involved in procuring infants during the country’s adoption boom. Sadly, similar ugliness seems to have happened in Korea. Julayne Lee’s Not My White Savior, a memoir in poems, is about her own adoption into a white Christian family in Minnesota, and how she returned to Korea as an adult an I used to think of inter-country adoption in simple terms - “unwanted children” blessed with “better lives” in the West. Then I went to China and learned about some of the coercion if not outright confiscation involved in procuring infants during the country’s adoption boom. Sadly, similar ugliness seems to have happened in Korea. Julayne Lee’s Not My White Savior, a memoir in poems, is about her own adoption into a white Christian family in Minnesota, and how she returned to Korea as an adult and continuously grapples with feelings of loss and alienation. And anger, so much anger. She touches on how the South Korean government failed its children, the lack of support for unwed mothers, the 200,000 infants sent abroad in an industry that lined so many pockets. On a personal level, Lee clearly didn’t have a happy childhood. I have met transracial adoptive parents who are open, communicative and aware their children will have different life experiences - and other parents who are dismissive of their children’s struggles and push the “we saved you” narrative. Lee seems to have been raised by the latter, thus her more pessimistic views of inter-country adoption. Still, whether an adoptee has supportive parents or not, we should be able to acknowledge there is gain AND loss when children are sent far from homelands, and that more than a few birth families were split against their wishes. Some of the best books and articles I’ve read uncovering troubling adoption practices are by white adoptive parents who wanted deeper understanding of how their children came to them. Basically, we need to stop with the “better life” narrative. It reeks of superiority, and people’s lives are far more nuanced. Though I do struggle with poetry, I was riveted by Lee’s story. She is blunt and passionate, and I appreciate having another narrative of the transracial and inter-country adoptee experience.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brenna Sydel

    Can I be honest? I picked up this book off Hoopla without reading what it was about. I assumed that this was written by a Black woman. It being February as I read this, I've been trying to read a lot of works by Black authors. A few poems, a few lines, a few moments into this and I realize I was wrong. But it didn't matter. This was important for me to read. This was essential. This was necessary. I regret my assumptions but I do not regret opting to 'rent' this book. This is sharp, straight shoo Can I be honest? I picked up this book off Hoopla without reading what it was about. I assumed that this was written by a Black woman. It being February as I read this, I've been trying to read a lot of works by Black authors. A few poems, a few lines, a few moments into this and I realize I was wrong. But it didn't matter. This was important for me to read. This was essential. This was necessary. I regret my assumptions but I do not regret opting to 'rent' this book. This is sharp, straight shooting, gutting, and heart breaking writing. I was blown away. I have nothing but strong recommendations for people to read this.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alanna McFall

    14. A collection of poetry: Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems by Julayne Lee List Progress: 20/30 (woo hoo!) Through my efforts to read more poetry over the last few years, I have found my preferences tend towards the pointed and direct. I want poetry that has a concrete thing to say: a topic, a point of view, an intended audience. Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems by Julayne Lee is absolutely pointed. Lee has a lot to say about her upbringing, about being adopted from Korea at ten month 14. A collection of poetry: Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems by Julayne Lee List Progress: 20/30 (woo hoo!) Through my efforts to read more poetry over the last few years, I have found my preferences tend towards the pointed and direct. I want poetry that has a concrete thing to say: a topic, a point of view, an intended audience. Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems by Julayne Lee is absolutely pointed. Lee has a lot to say about her upbringing, about being adopted from Korea at ten months old by a conservative white family in Minnesota. She has a lot to say, and she is angry. She writes about her conflicted identity as a transracial adoptee and how the system of adoption of Korean children by white American families is deeply threaded through with colonialism, racism and abuse. It is a topic I have not read much about before and Lee paints her story with a lot of passion. The form is occasionally a bit lacking, but the collection as a whole certainly packs a punch. As not just a white person, but a white Minnesotan, I will always have a skewed perspective on poetry like this, and I did find myself wrestling with my emotional responses at first. My instinct was to give more credit and benefit of the doubt to Lee’s white adopters, but her response to her lived experience eventually settled in. She has devoted much of her adult life to bonding with other transracial adoptees and giving organizational support (she is the co-founder of Adoptee Solidarity Korea- LA) because of how deeply her experiences impacted her. Not My White Savior as a collection is as pointed as its title, and it has to be respected for that. The poems are not particularly crafted or comprehensive as individual pieces. Perhaps it was a side effect of me reading the collection over the course of two days, but I could not envision plucking a single poem out of the piece any more than I would pluck a single chapter out of a novel. But as a whole, they paint a rich picture. Lee has a particular voice that certainly will not resonate with everyone, and there were points where she lost me, but I am still very glad that I read this and that I had some of my own reactions challenged. While clearly a lot of pain went into the production of these poems, the results are impressive. Would I Recommend It: Yes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    N

    The subject matter is serious stuff that isn't talked about and grappled with enough. It judges history and pushes for reckoning. Though called "a memoir in poems," it reads like a manifesto. Statements are mostly direct, with few images or layers to parse: If these words are too angry too militant for you if they cause you discomfort and you squirm in your seat then I say they are not angry enough they are not militant enough until you cannot sleep at night and will take a stand against this injustice! Th The subject matter is serious stuff that isn't talked about and grappled with enough. It judges history and pushes for reckoning. Though called "a memoir in poems," it reads like a manifesto. Statements are mostly direct, with few images or layers to parse: If these words are too angry too militant for you if they cause you discomfort and you squirm in your seat then I say they are not angry enough they are not militant enough until you cannot sleep at night and will take a stand against this injustice! These lines are a rallying cry, and as such they work. But remove the line breaks and add standard punctuation, and you have rhetorical prose. To say it another way, this isn't art, but it is dynamic activism working for change.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    These poems are raw, devastating, and angry. They’re an important history lesson on the complex factors involved in Korean-American adoption, full of rage against everything that should not be. Julayne Lee memorializes Korean-American adoptees whose lives were snuffed out by violence. She writes letters to her mothers—biological, foster, and adoptive. She blames Korea for giving up on 200,000 of its children. She details the racist, white, religious upbringing forced upon her. It must have taken These poems are raw, devastating, and angry. They’re an important history lesson on the complex factors involved in Korean-American adoption, full of rage against everything that should not be. Julayne Lee memorializes Korean-American adoptees whose lives were snuffed out by violence. She writes letters to her mothers—biological, foster, and adoptive. She blames Korea for giving up on 200,000 of its children. She details the racist, white, religious upbringing forced upon her. It must have taken a lot of courage to write about the less-than-favorable aspects of being a transracial adoptee, and I’m glad that Lee is giving these experiences a strong voice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    This was an eye-opening book that will make you think deeply about the politics of transnational adoption, from the perspective of adoptees. I doubt that most people are aware of the layers of complexity behind issues of adoption. It was sometimes painful to read this. As a person who hopes to adopt one day and I could not believe how ignorant I was to the feelings of adoptees. I definitely learned A LOT!

  12. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    These poems were raw and angry and so many of them rung true. There were ones that didn't apply to me, especially since I'm not Korean American or Korean. But there were others that spoke to something in my soul.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trina

    Excellent collection of poetry that illustrates the harms of unequal adoption (for lack of a specific term). I will be sharing this with History teachers to connect with cultural genocide and the Sixties Scoop.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sachi Argabright

    What a tough but absolutely essential set of poems about the effects of inter-country adoption. Julayne Lee has such a strong voice, and she’s not afraid to use it! I absolutely loved how much truth and honesty these poems gave. I’m so glad I read it!

  15. 5 out of 5

    shellyflowers

    This book is a stunning work of art that dives deep into the trauma of Inter-country and trans-racial adoption, particularly when the adoptive family refuses to acknowledge any differences the child has in a positive way. Stunning work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Fitzpatrick

    A very smart, very furious analysis of Americans adopting children of color.

  17. 5 out of 5

    .Jay Weist

    She has led a privileged life, well beyond the reach of most people. The venom comes from some unexplored space.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kandace

    Powerful poetry memoir of adoption and loss and rage and writing through injustice. I enjoyed the collection.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thao

    I learned about the Korean adopted experience; it opened my eyes to the complexity of emotions and the dark history. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story, Julayne!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    2.5

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I have to think that I’ve read other books that contain as much fury as this memoir did, but none come to mind.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    "Yea though I walk through the valley of assimilation I fear death in my isolation" Very powerful collection!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brianne

    I'm gonna need any white person leaving a critical review to have a seat and remember that this book wasn't written /for/ us. Our opinions aren't necessary here.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doug Levandowski

    Admittedly, I only read the first few poems in the collection, but I can't see myself finishing it. The poems seemed more like short prose than poetry, and while her experience needs to be shared, her poetry isn't for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Manon「マノン」

    I almost DNF'ed this book and I'm so glad I didn't. I wasn't impressed with the first couple of poems but it got so much better afterwards. Definitely eye-opening on a situation I wasn't aware of.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  27. 5 out of 5

    Yuji

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sydney Conroy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alice

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.