Welcome All Book Lovers

Welcome All Book Lovers

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.@goodreads




I'm almost at a loss for words on how to review this book. I loved it, it was sad and bizarre, but when dealing with mental illness, not that much is bizarre. I have my own mental illnesses so I don't put too much into what people think because there are those that support you and those that don't. And to me, in my opinion, I think Yeong-hye might not have slipped into this world as far as she did if she had support from her family. One can never tell.

I wish we could have heard Yeong-hye's thoughts, there were snippets here and there, but this story is told through her husband's eyes, her brother-in-law's eyes and one of her sisters eyes.

I think her husband was a jerk. He married Yeong-hye because she was plain and wouldn't outshine him. She would be a decent woman to take care of him and she worked her own job without any fuss. But, one night he wakes up and finds her in the kitchen, she's just standing there. He's fussing at her and all she finally says is I had a dream. The whole story line where she is just standing there in the dark like a statue was very creepy to me!

The next thing her husband finds her throwing out all of the meat and saying she is a vegetarian now. She had a very disturbing dream of blood and death, it doesn't go too much into the dream, but it was enough to change how Yeong-hye saw the world. I really don't know if this was just a beginning of mental illness or something that was just a decision after a dream.

The sad part is that her husband never supported her, he abused her a few times, her family didn't support her and even abused her. I despised her father for the abuse of an animal and his own daughter. He should have been taking to the gallows, but I digress. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking if they would have supported her and not acting the way they did at a dinner that she might not have ending up in a psych ward for suicidal tendencies. Well, her sorry husband who didn't support her anyway, and was secretly in love with her sister, divorced her.

I think after Yeong-hye got out of the hospital and lived in her own little flat, that she was getting better. She stopped looking so emaciated because she got to eat all of the veggie food that she wanted. She seemed to be somewhat happy. I was beginning to feel like her luck might be turning around. THEN... her brother-in-law starts coming around, he has a secret lust for her. What is with this family!!!

I felt like he used her to bring him into his world, to get what he wanted. He was an artist and all of that had to do with body painting. Even still, I'm not sure that Yeong-hye would have went to the extremes she did if her sister didn't walk in on them and have them both carted off to the mental ward because of her jealousy. From this point on, Yeong-hye went downhill... she wouldn't eat, she wanted to be a tree.


I'm really not sure if any of my thoughts on the book are right. I'm not sure if this was something else entirely, but I do know what I took away from the book is that people are cruel. Your own family can be cruel. Sometimes people just need a little help and acceptance, who knows what would have happened. This book is both sad, sensual and yes, a little crazy. But, I loved it. There is just something about it that I loved.

*I would like to thank The Reading Room and Penguin Random House LLC for a free print copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*






  1. Great review! I'm glad you liked it. I've been wanting to read this one, but I haven't seen any reviews yet. Thanks for an awesome review!

    1. Thank you sweet Erin! I think you should read it. It's sad, but I loved it so much ♥