Even though the main character lacks emotional understanding, the book Almond teaches you more about emotions than lot other books can do. One of many pointers of this books is the ease with wich you read it, even though it has heavy story and deal with very heavy topics, this is softened not only by the brilliance of the writer Son-pyung Sohn but an important nod needs to be given to the books translator, Sandy Joosun Lee.
Boy with Alexithymia
“Almond,” tells you a story of two boys. The main character of the book and the “little monster” who makes you a company is young Yunjae. Yunjae was diagnosed with Alexithymia as a young child, which in medical terms means “inability to identify and describe emotions experienced by one’s self or others”. What emotions should I feel when this or that happens, not when you wonder but when you truly do not know, that would be the condition of Alexithymia, which was first described in the 70s.
With condition like that, or any condition general public rarely is willing to understand or treat respectfully, Yunjae was almost predestined to be perceived in a certain way. In the author’s note, it was this very question that inspired Won-pyung Sohn to begin writing such a story, after her daughter was born. You wonder, despite all children having the right to same possibilities, very few do, which is something we all can relate to.
Not only with the mental state but also the social it is often pre-described how society treats you or children, who then carry such understanding of human behaviour towards them and adapt to it, which is a story of the second character Gon.
What I admire about Almond as a whole is telling such a profound and complex story on a mere 195 pages of its content. It does not feel short in any way because of the writers’ ability to take you by your hand and walk you through a story, very gently. With the heavy themes and sometimes dark ambient of it, it is fascinating how light the whole book feels on one hand and emotional on the other.
As you see the two “little monsters” learning more of each other and themselves you adapt the authors thoughts on emotions and growing up to yourself.
I highly recommend this book, it is often where the emotions are openly shared the least where you find the most genuine one, if not complex though.
is a korean writer, screenwriter and film director who had her literally debut with “Almond” in 2017 and what a strong debut that is. Previously she reviewed number of awards for her screenwriting, including Science Fantasy Writers’ Award.
Won-pyung Sohn studied philosophy, social science but also movie directing and her filmography has number of movies – such as A Two-way Monologue, a critically acclaimed indie movie from 2007.
“I know this may be a clichéd conclusion to draw. But I have come to think that love is what makes a person human, as well as what makes a monster. That’s the story I wanted to tell.Won-pyung Sohn, Almond