Min Jin Lee herself noted that, as a child, she was reserved and hated attention. In high school, she would constantly avoid anything that brought her into the public eye and, in her own word, would ‘fidget’ at the slight show of attention. ‘Me time’ was her best moment, and she effectively utilized those by reading lots of books which in turn informed her writing about immigrant life.
A Life of Promiscuous Reading Habit
Min Jin Lee may not have written a lot of novels, but she obviously had to consume a high volume of literature growing up. According to her, reading was responsible for her better understanding of how well to tell her own story of immigrant life.
Because she had difficulty mingling or socializing with people – she hated being in the spot the most, Min Jin Lee saw books as her only true companion for every situation and every event of life she finds herself in. Books such as Betty Smith’s ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,’ and Lois Lenski’s ‘Strawberry Girl’ was especially helpful for Lee during elementary education.
Min Jin Lee found, within the pages of these books, just the right amount of solace to bring peace and tranquility to her world, reminding her that if the characters in the books could change and have a better, more desirable life, so could she in her own struggles.
The Library at Elmhurst
A major part of Min Jin Lee’s ability to write about her immigrant life was thanks to the hundredths of hours spent reading the books picked from the Elmhurst library in Queens, New York. Lee and her two sisters were introduced to the library by Uncle John.
Uncle John had relocated to the United States years back when he was 23 years old and did all sorts of odd jobs just to get by. However, he didn’t see a real breakthrough until he discovered the Elmhurst library, where he would go to borrow books on programming and computer science and eventually get a job working with I.B.M.
The same library was fundamental to Min Jin Lee’s career, as she discovered resources from its archive that went a long way to, maybe not directly but did, inspire her interest in honing the skills needed for great historical storytelling, which was what she needed to write about her immigrant life and experiences.
Settling for Culturally Epic Korean-American Literatures
Although Min Jin Lee was and is still is to this day, a voracious reader who enjoyed reading across different genres and cultures. However, through those several years journeying and exploring some of the best literature available, she came retired to having a soft spot for books that explored the stoutness in the American individualism culture – as well as Korean knowledge and ethos. From here, Lee discovered a rich new light within which she told her equally story.
What kind of writing was Min Jin Lee initially interested in?
Before settling for a full-time career as a novelist, Min Jin Lee initially wanted to become a political writer, and this was perhaps because of her affiliation with politics being that she majored in history and later acquired a law degree followed by a two-year legal practice.
How did Min Jin Lee get through tough times as a teenager?
Because Min Jin Lee didn’t have a lot of friends and acquaintances growing up, she mostly didn’t share her problems with any real person when she had one. However, what was traditional to her handling of tough times was that she always had books to help her face any challenge, and would easily pick one that related to the problem whenever she felt cornered by such a problem.
Who taught Min Jin Lee to write about her immigrant life?
Min Jin Lee’s life of enormous consumption of books was almost entirely the sole reason why she decided to document and write about her immigrant life.