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Moms

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An outrageously funny book about middle-aged women that reexamines romance, lust, and gender norms Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong are all mothers in their mid-fifties. And they’ve had it. They can no longer bear the dead weight of their partners or the endless grind of menial jobs where their bosses control everything, down to how much water they can drink. Although L An outrageously funny book about middle-aged women that reexamines romance, lust, and gender norms Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong are all mothers in their mid-fifties. And they’ve had it. They can no longer bear the dead weight of their partners or the endless grind of menial jobs where their bosses control everything, down to how much water they can drink. Although Lee Soyeon divorced her husband years ago after his gambling drove their family into bankruptcy, she finds herself in another tired and dishonest decade-long relationship with Jongseok, a slimy waiter at a nightclub. Meanwhile, Myeong-ok is having an illicit affair with a younger man, and Yeonjeong, whose husband suffers from erectile dysfunction, has her eye on an acquaintance from the gym. Bored with conventional romantic dalliances, these women embrace outrageous sexual adventures and mishaps, ending up in nightclubs, motels, and even the occasional back-alley brawl. With this boisterous and darkly funny manhwa, Yeong-shin Ma defies the norms of the traditional Korean family narrative, offering instead the refreshingly honest and unfiltered story of a group of middle-aged moms who yearn for something more than what the mediocre men in their lives can provide. Despite their less-than-desirable jobs, salaries, husbands, and boyfriends, these women brazenly bulldoze their way through life with the sexual vulnerability and lust typically attributed to twenty-somethings.


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An outrageously funny book about middle-aged women that reexamines romance, lust, and gender norms Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong are all mothers in their mid-fifties. And they’ve had it. They can no longer bear the dead weight of their partners or the endless grind of menial jobs where their bosses control everything, down to how much water they can drink. Although L An outrageously funny book about middle-aged women that reexamines romance, lust, and gender norms Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong are all mothers in their mid-fifties. And they’ve had it. They can no longer bear the dead weight of their partners or the endless grind of menial jobs where their bosses control everything, down to how much water they can drink. Although Lee Soyeon divorced her husband years ago after his gambling drove their family into bankruptcy, she finds herself in another tired and dishonest decade-long relationship with Jongseok, a slimy waiter at a nightclub. Meanwhile, Myeong-ok is having an illicit affair with a younger man, and Yeonjeong, whose husband suffers from erectile dysfunction, has her eye on an acquaintance from the gym. Bored with conventional romantic dalliances, these women embrace outrageous sexual adventures and mishaps, ending up in nightclubs, motels, and even the occasional back-alley brawl. With this boisterous and darkly funny manhwa, Yeong-shin Ma defies the norms of the traditional Korean family narrative, offering instead the refreshingly honest and unfiltered story of a group of middle-aged moms who yearn for something more than what the mediocre men in their lives can provide. Despite their less-than-desirable jobs, salaries, husbands, and boyfriends, these women brazenly bulldoze their way through life with the sexual vulnerability and lust typically attributed to twenty-somethings.

30 review for Moms

  1. 5 out of 5

    izzy_my

    This comic is really really good! (Sorry, my review skills don't go further than this, but needed to share at least this!)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    It's "Real Housewives of Seoul!" All the infighting, infidelity, and invective, but with none of the glamour, glitz or gold. The author asked his divorced fiftysomething mom to write up daily notes about her dating life and that of her similarly aged friends and co-workers, and then he adapted it into this graphic novel. So Soyeon works a dead-end cleaning job, let's her musician son live in her apartment rent-free so he can play video games all day, and dates a guy who cheats on her just like h It's "Real Housewives of Seoul!" All the infighting, infidelity, and invective, but with none of the glamour, glitz or gold. The author asked his divorced fiftysomething mom to write up daily notes about her dating life and that of her similarly aged friends and co-workers, and then he adapted it into this graphic novel. So Soyeon works a dead-end cleaning job, let's her musician son live in her apartment rent-free so he can play video games all day, and dates a guy who cheats on her just like her ex-husband used to. Her big dream is to marry a rich guy who she can maybe cheat on. The storyline meanders slice-of-life style a bit too long, but I slowly became vested in the sad sack main character even as I resented her for making so many wrong choices in her life.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barry Welsh

    KBS Korea 24 @KBSKorea24 19:10-20:00 KST, Mon-Fri on KBS WORLD Radio. Download the KBS Kong / KBS WORLD Radio Mobile apps or subscribe to the Korea 24 podcast for your daily updates! “For #KoreaBookClub, @BarryPWelsh brings the #graphicnovel "Moms" by Yeong-shin Ma, translated by @JanetHong333. Tune in to hear how three mothers in their mid-fifties are fed up from the dead weight of their partners and the endless grind of their menial jobs. #마영신 #엄마들” #KBSWORLDRadio #KBS월드라디오 #Korea24 #코리아24 #책추천 #bo KBS Korea 24 @KBSKorea24 19:10-20:00 KST, Mon-Fri on KBS WORLD Radio. Download the KBS Kong / KBS WORLD Radio Mobile apps or subscribe to the Korea 24 podcast for your daily updates! “For #KoreaBookClub, @BarryPWelsh brings the #graphicnovel "Moms" by Yeong-shin Ma, translated by @JanetHong333. Tune in to hear how three mothers in their mid-fifties are fed up from the dead weight of their partners and the endless grind of their menial jobs. #마영신 #엄마들” #KBSWORLDRadio #KBS월드라디오 #Korea24 #코리아24 #책추천 #bookstagram #북스타그램 #책스타그램 #KoreanLiterature #한국문학 (https://lnkd.in/gxkU6aW) #book #reading

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    "Moms" is a deftly told series of interlocking stories that illuminate the lives of a group of middle-aged Korean women friends struggling with sex, family, and money. There are so many incisive and well-crafted elements to this comic, that I will only choose one for my brief review: how Ma (the artist) illustrates the interior lives of these women. Mild spoilers (basic plot points) ahead. There are many instances where the medium of the comic is used in effective and moving ways. For example, on "Moms" is a deftly told series of interlocking stories that illuminate the lives of a group of middle-aged Korean women friends struggling with sex, family, and money. There are so many incisive and well-crafted elements to this comic, that I will only choose one for my brief review: how Ma (the artist) illustrates the interior lives of these women. Mild spoilers (basic plot points) ahead. There are many instances where the medium of the comic is used in effective and moving ways. For example, on page 108, Soyeon is watching Tomb Raider in a cinema. After depicting Angelina Jolie's taut body on the screen, we pan back to her expression, squinting to read the subtitles, and thinking "Boy, don't I wish I had a face and bod like that..." (In this moment, I also want to note translator Janet Hong's wry and witty dialogue translation). On page 143, Soyeon eagerly waits for her lover to arrive after texting him to come over for a home-cooked meal. When he never arrives, Ma suddenly etches the frame in layers and layers of black ink hatching, illustrating Soyeon's loneliness, the night getting darker, and her disappointment growing. Later on page 148, Soyeon recounts a story with her stingy boss, where the moment is illustrated within her speech bubble (of him snatching a nice drink away from her at a company party). On page 167, we see two women confronting a man trying to date both of them glaring at each other, a triangulated tense gaze refracting from all three of the people involved. After reading this book, I had every faith this story is meant to be told as a comic. The various episodes of different women's lives are woven together thoughtfully and largely seamlessly (though there were occasional moments where I flipped back to clarify sequences of events). In addition to the dramatic lovers' arguments, this book also explored the emotional impacts of class and financial disenfranchisement in powerful ways. The sequences of women janitors standing up to their traitorous team leader and lecherous boss are amongst the most memorable in the whole book. Final notes: social media is explored well here too, specifically text messaging and Instagram posts. And boy, do I love these scenes. Hearing Soyeon's snippy commentary on her friends' performative posts and comments as she lies on her side in bed, scrolling into the night, I had to laugh at how relatable it was. 5 stars isn't enough.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mateen Mahboubi

    The harsh realities of middle-aged dating in Korea (although I'm sure that a lot of the challenges may be familiar around the world). I appreciated reading a story centred a population that is not usually represented in graphic novels (usually side characters in the stories of their children) but these are some strong independent women out to get theirs. Sometimes it felt that they were just getting beat down so much that it became hard to read but who I am to deny their reality.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maria Longley

    The author asked his mother to fill out a blank notebook detailing her life and thoughts and from that he created this graphic novel - a response to the question what is it like to be a middle-aged woman (in South Korea). The women, the mums of the title, move through their lives that involve night clubs and picket lines as well as navigating rubbish boyfriends and adult children who still live at home. The black and white drawings are detailed and atmospheric and full of the emotional landscape The author asked his mother to fill out a blank notebook detailing her life and thoughts and from that he created this graphic novel - a response to the question what is it like to be a middle-aged woman (in South Korea). The women, the mums of the title, move through their lives that involve night clubs and picket lines as well as navigating rubbish boyfriends and adult children who still live at home. The black and white drawings are detailed and atmospheric and full of the emotional landscape of the friends/rivals of the main character Lee Soyeon. Translator: Janet Hong

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Clark

    Moms - This is Real Housewives if Real Housewives was in fact about real housewives. While it has love affairs, occasional fisticuffs, and plenty of relationship drama this goes deeper to examine how the world has placed this woman in lives where happiness is a constant search Mistakes are made on all sides but what is clear is how society will pressure women to settle to seek their approval of living the right kind of life yet ignore the transgressions of men as a normal way of life. Beyond that Moms - This is Real Housewives if Real Housewives was in fact about real housewives. While it has love affairs, occasional fisticuffs, and plenty of relationship drama this goes deeper to examine how the world has placed this woman in lives where happiness is a constant search Mistakes are made on all sides but what is clear is how society will pressure women to settle to seek their approval of living the right kind of life yet ignore the transgressions of men as a normal way of life. Beyond that economical issue, those in a lower status are taken advantage From sexual harassment to being underpaid survival is the repetitive beat of being treated as less than. So what happens? We see when a collective group says no more to fight for their social and economical freedom. These women certainly have their flaws and freely admit them That is a major part of what makes this book so interesting. Honesty.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Libriar

    This graphic novel is not what I was expecting. It was hard to keep the different women apart when they weren't in the panel (when their names were being mentioned in conversation) so I should have paid more attention to that. It definitely gives a different look at middle-aged women in Korea than what most people would expect.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Whitt

    Excellent work about the tumultuous love life of several Korean moms in their fifties. I love how the crude artwork accents the characters’ emotional turmoil. Also there’s like a side arc about the main Mom forming a union at her janitorial job? I don’t know, this book has it all. Here’s hoping D&Q publishes more of Yeong-Shin Ma’s stuff. Excellent work about the tumultuous love life of several Korean moms in their fifties. I love how the crude artwork accents the characters’ emotional turmoil. Also there’s like a side arc about the main Mom forming a union at her janitorial job? I don’t know, this book has it all. Here’s hoping D&Q publishes more of Yeong-Shin Ma’s stuff.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I wish I liked this more than I did. I love that this looks at middle- to older-aged Korean women, but I wanted more stories that weren't about the men in their life. Even the ones that dealt with autonomy/not relationships felt like they quickly ended once men were removed from the situation, which was dissatisfying. I want a story that these women deserve, not what they were given.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brianna Sowinski

    Based on the love life and social life of the author's mom and her friends. Hilarious and a great reminder that moms are unique people with their own hopes and dreams that end up sacrificing too much for their families.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Avery

    Absolutely hilarious and I loved the art!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katia Lyng

    It was an interesting read, I just felt like the stories got repetitive .

  14. 4 out of 5

    CieldeMayo

    Je m’attendais pas à autant d’histoires de cœurs, mais je me suis bien amusée tout de même. Le style visuel est cru et parfaitement adapté au caractère des Moms.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Concertina

    Ay la vida...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Phaedra

    the Letter to Halmoni is still with me over a month later...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelley Carr

    review coming in December

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Silver

    This was was so incredible. Hilarious, dark, touching and totally unique. I'm recommending it to everyone.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amona

    These women were really coming for each other. Enjoyed the other Korean stories in the comic as well.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Helen | readwithneleh

    This is an unapologetic and honest look at middle-aged Korean moms and their exploration and discovery of lust, love and their place in a patriarchal world. Both funny and depressing, this graphic novel examines these Korean women, who are always seen as someone’s wife or mom, as individuals with real dreams and a thirst for true meaning to their lives, meaning that goes beyond what society deemed is acceptable for them. I laughed, I cried, I rolled my eyes and even cursed out loud. Basically, t This is an unapologetic and honest look at middle-aged Korean moms and their exploration and discovery of lust, love and their place in a patriarchal world. Both funny and depressing, this graphic novel examines these Korean women, who are always seen as someone’s wife or mom, as individuals with real dreams and a thirst for true meaning to their lives, meaning that goes beyond what society deemed is acceptable for them. I laughed, I cried, I rolled my eyes and even cursed out loud. Basically, this one gave me all the feels. Highly recommend!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maggie S

  22. 5 out of 5

    Javier Curbelo

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

  24. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Garcés

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Painter

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  30. 5 out of 5

    Seb Gwyther

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