So, why Hart & Seoul for my final read?
I feel that it encompassed a lot of the most important things I did in the last decade, which is likely going to be the most formative and varied decade of my life. (Not ruling anything out, but it’ll be hard to beat!) It was also a fantastically funny and sweet read, and if I can end every year that way, I think I’m doing alright. 😊
Here’s a look at my life mirroring Merri’s life in Hart & Seoul, and a little timeline of it all!
Korea / kpop – I lived in Korea!
Ok, this is probably a pretty obvious one. Lee is a kpop star, and there’s romanized Korean spoken throughout the book. The cultural moments that I keep mentioning are so relatable for me after having lived there. Frankly, I fell in love with Korea and Koreans and Korean entertainment. A blend of modernity and tradition, a sense of community towards everyone, and the wildest stories that end up being so touching and sweet. I adore it, and this book was a delicious reminder of all that I love!
High school – I graduated, too!
It was a while back now, which in itself is weird to think about, but this decade started off with me graduating from high school. Merri has the common struggles of what to do after her schooling obligations, but luckily for me I felt pretty clearly that I knew what I wanted to do.
Losing family – my first experience with death
I grew up very very lucky to have all my grandparents alive and a generally healthy family. So it wasn’t until later in life that I first had to deal with one of the people I loved dying. It hit me far harder than anyone could have imagined, and I did not handle it well. Merri is dealing with her mom abruptly leaving her and her dad, so she faces a different kind of loss, but the grief and pain is there nonetheless. It can become crippling if you let it.
Merri’s growth on DeviantArt – this blog right here!
This is a newer development, but one that I think is very important in this decade. While Merri is exploring her artistic talent and sharing it with the world online, I’m doing the same (attempting to, anyway) with my love of reading. From NetGalley to this blog, I’m working hard to add depth to a hobby and passion. 🎉
Heartbreak – who hasn’t?
Merri has some truly crap situations thrown at her to deal with, and her poor little heart has to try to keep up through the betrayal, confusion, and loss. While I avoided the exact situations she faced, I still had to deal with relationships abruptly ending. Friends who ghost hard when you live next door to them in your college dorm? Ouch.
Love and musicians – finding the real thing!
Ok, I mean, she’s 17 and I still feel 17 a lot of the time, but still… I’m pretty confident I’ve found what’s real when it comes to love. And compared to past relationships, it’s a pretty significant difference! Plus, Merri and I, we got it right: date a boy who can sing, because ohmygod will you swoon so hard. Personal serenades and lovely singing floating throughout the house all the time are only a few of the benefits!
Embrace your passions – or even just find what they are
Merri’s focus on her art and work in figuring out how she can incorporate it into her life, how she can embrace her passion in a fulfilling way. Who isn’t after that? I finally found my passions, and was surprised by some of them (photography? REALLY?), but pursuing them has led me to wonderful places and people. ♥