From her childhood in a North Korean mountain village to a successful life in the United States, the years have brought Mae Adams many challenges. With the past full of ghosts, her final challenge is to share her story.
Rejected by a mother who did not want a second daughter, Mae grew up on the periphery of her aristocratic Korean family. Her loving step-grandma (a commoner) took care of her, allowing her to explore the joys and perils of their rural home. Mae describes her emergence into Korean culture, from her Japanese-style education to her most prized possession: her pair of silver chopsticks.
She endures her mother’s abuse, almost-tragic accidents, and her father’s funeral. But things would get much worse. At the end of World War II, Mae and her family flee to South Korea, while her grandma stays behind. Within five years the Korean War erupts, and again they spend several years as refugees before Mae came to the United States for a college education.
Her memoir delves into Korean history and the Japanese occupation, following Mae until her happy ending: marriage to a US Marine colonel and a family and career of her own.
Precious Silver Chopsticks is a wonderfully written memoir of a North Korean girl and her journey to America. A truly inspirational story that you will not want to miss. Scroll up and grab a copy of Precious Silver Chopsticks today.
Mae’s remarkable life story will inspire all who read it!
Reviewed by Piaras on March 26, 2020 for Emerald Book Reviews
Mae’s generation suffered the Japanese Occupation, World War II and the Korean War. Her triumphant story culminates with her marriage to Hewitt, a US Marine colonel, a family and career of her own. This autobiography is the living record of a generation, crisscrossed by the personal history of a family and the most intimate fibers of Mae’s being. It is an exemplary human response to dire straits.
Precious Silver Chopsticks: A True Story of a Korean Noble Family is a powerful and inspirational story about a woman’s triumph over incredible adversary. It was a brilliant read that will leave you feeling like a better person for having read it. It’s an impressive work by author Mae Adams and I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more from her in the future. I would highly recommend this extraordinary and inspiring autobiography. A well-deserved five stars from me.
Mae Adams was born in Korea in 1933, as the second daughter of an Aristocratic Family and abandoned by her mother for she was not a son. Her grandparents raised her in their resort-estate in the mountain village where the family retreated when the Japanese invaded Korea in 1910. Mae’s grandma gave her a pair of magic silver chopsticks as a symbol of her love and to protect her life from poison by turning its color. There was an attempt to kill her.
When Mae’s father suffered from tuberculosis in Seoul, her grandpa brought his son’s family to the mountain village to isolate him from the rest of the family. Grandpa put him in the guest house where he lived and ignored Mae as if she didn’t exist until he died a slow, agonizing death. Mae’s mother treated her with a cold heart and harsh words. Mae was five and a half years old.
Then, Mae went to a Japanese school, learned the Japanese language, and endured their abuse of Koreans. After World War II, the family escaped from the Communist regime, made of low-born and commoner-class people, who hated upper-class people. They took over Mae’s hometown and came after the family to kill. Her step-grandma, who came from commoner-class people, stayed behind to give the family time to escape. After the harrowing escape from North Korea, the family lived in Seoul as refugees and tried to rebuild their lives.
But hard luck kept following their path. From 1950 to 1953, the family lived through harrowing Korean War and lost what they have rebuilt. But Mae fought back and became the breadwinner of the family and dreamed of going to America for a college education. Although she fell in love with an American Marine colonel, Hewitt, she pursued her education. After both left Korea, Hewitt was in Camp Pendelton, and Mae was in school in North Carolina. They kept a long-distance romance for three years before they got married and raised a family.
When Hewitt retired from the Marine Corps, he enrolled in Claremont Graduate school and majored in Asian history. Mae helped him with Japanese and Chinese languages, one of which was a required course. While Hewitt taught at Clemson University, Mae ran her own successful business until Hewitt suffered a stroke in 1991 and sold the company to take care of him. Although Hewitt wanted to write Mae’s life story, his many ailments prevented him from doing it.
After 43 years together, he lost the battle with cancer when Mae was 71. While grieving, she wrote her memoir as therapy. From that first book came “Precious Silver Chopsticks” for publication. English is her fourth language. She is now working on her second book and lives near her daughter’s family in McCormick, South Carolina, USA.