Children of Itaewon (Korean publication)

Walk the streets with Byung-suk, a black-Korean Amerasian boy orphaned to the streets of Seoul from the time he is born. Take the journey with him and a little girl, his white-Korean female companion, as they navigate the gutters and back alleys of the marketplace, through whorehouses and hotels, to Japan in the service of a wealthy Korean exporter's wife, and finally to New York City. It is a dramatic view of the streets through the eyes of its various inhabitants that exposes the underbelly of racism that permeates Asian and American societies. It is a fictional document on a segment of society trapped in their own skins because of their color, but who remain foreigners in their own land with no identity and no escape. I spent three years on research, including a year in Korea and a year in Japan, and interviewed many of these children and people who cared for them, collecting audio tapes and photos.

Reviews

"I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway for an honest review. This is a fantastic book. Once you start reading it you will not put it down till the end. David Meth did a very good job of showing all sides to this story. You are immediately invested in the lives of Byung-suk and Miya and only want them to succeed and make it to the U.S. This story shows the good in people and the bad and also the truth of what has happened in the past and is still taking place today in many countries where American soldiers are stationed. Although I believe things have improved for some countries there is much harm that is still being done. It also makes you realize how lucky you are to be in America and that most children are treated much better than this in our country. Don't kid yourself though, we have places in the U.S. that are as bad as Itaewon. It will make you want to run out and save all the children around the world but we know this is not reasonable; it also shows you that our help can be a corrupting force so when we do help we need to make sure that our money is getting to the right people. I applaud Mr. Meth on a fine book and hope that he will expand on this story. There is a lot of potential for more here and Mr. Meth has shown us that he can indeed write!!!"

 

AN UNFORGETABLE STORY, June 22, 2011

“As soon as I read the first few pages of A HINT OF LIGHT, I knew that I had picked up a page turner. This is one of the most haunting stories that you will ever read.  I knew almost nothing about the experiences of half black, half Korean children struggling to survive on the streets and other undesirable places in Korea. Reading this book not only intrigued me, but it enlightened me and heightened my awareness about a culture that I was not familiar with until now. 

 

The author developed the main character, Byung-suk, so well, I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading fiction. After the first few chapters, I began to feel a lot of pity for this boy and some of the people he interacted with. However, by the end of the story I realized Byung-suk did not need to be pitied. For a boy born to a prostitute who dies after she gives birth to him in the same gutter, he still has the tenacity, intelligence, and determination to survive. He eventually enjoys some level of happiness despite the numerous obstacles that he has to face almost every day of his life so his story is not a complete tragedy. 

 

If you read only a few books a year, this should be one of them.” Mary Monroe, New York Times Bestselling author of THE UPPER ROOM and MAMA 

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“What a powerful, moving, upsetting but ultimately uplifting story! I absolutely couldn’t put it down!” Natalie Bates, author of Friend of the Family.

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“Meth’s intimate knowledge, sincerity, and attention to detail evoke genuine sympathy for the war’s throw-away children, abandoned to their fate on Seoul’s mean streets. The reader senses that the writer has actually witnessed it all firsthand. The quirky, fluid writing style moves the action right along and descriptions are often apt and vivid.” Barbara Joe, author of Triumph & Hope: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras

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5.0 out of 5 stars,  Amazon, 8/12/11, by John Bates

A Powerful and Important Book by David Meth is an extraordinary work. This story of a young mixed race boy is so moving and so powerful, and rendered in such excellent prose--this is a book which should be read by EVERYONE.

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“Very touching ... well done, David. It is a moving, important story.” K.

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“It is a great book! The characters in it jump out at you.” TC

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"Get a box of tissues ready. This book is so intense and fully detailed in every way. I stayed up all night reading this book even though I had to be at the office by 7am. I did not sleep and since I am a girl, I cried a lot. The book is heartbreaking but its story is like the millions of children who are Ameriasian. Some of them are still struggling today as adults, with the same longing of meeting their father, and dreaming of coming to America. I did not realize this was based on actual history until I did some internet searching and found tons of information on Ameriasian. This book really informed me, I got another look on the side affects of ugly wars and its politics. Wonderful author, I can't wait to find more of his work. Being able to see the world through another, differently." Amazon Review, 12/21/10

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"From the first to last line, I was compelled. Riveting and moving. Hope all will read this. Congrats, David! Blessings!" Cori Thomas, playwright.

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"If you are looking for a great read, be sure to check this out!” East Coast Asian American Student Union 

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“i bought ur book a hint of light and it was amazing i am also korean and black and have a rough time with race.... i can relate to that book and grateful i got to read it... ive passed the book on to my father who is also enjoying it. thanks for good reading... i have told many about ur book and hope that u write more wonderful stories...” Miji Kim Colston

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Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars

I received this book through First Reads!!

 

O.M.G. This book was amazing. It was such page turner. Meth has come up with an extraordinary story! The story follows a mixed boy in Korea born to not so upstanding mother. When she dies he struggles to find his place and purpose in life and ultimately he is trying to discover who he is. 

 

This book gave me chills with every word I read. Meth does an amazing job using detail. In some cases I forgot that I was reading fiction because this novel is so realistic. 

 
 

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