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Book review: Michele E. Northwood – Fishnets in the Far East (@northwood_e)

Michele had longed to be a dancer, but when she was accepted to be a dancer, as part of reviewa troupe going to Korea, she was a little apprehensive and with good reason. This male-dominated society gave no quarter. Naïve, inexperienced, and shy she soon learns she must take life into her own hands or be exploited.

Fishnets in the Far East is a true life account from the diaries of Michele E. Northwood. This book has a very real feel to it, which perhaps stems from the fact it is based on the true story of the character whose perspective we adopt. It embraces different cultures, but it also made me smile in the sense that it highlighted certain habits and practices which are adopted by some countries that are alien to the US or British cultures, and the characters’ reactions to them were very apt. I enjoyed the unfolding plot as you are thrust into the complexities of three young girls sent to work in Korea as dancers. There was a massive culture shock they had been unprepared for, and they had needed to adapt quickly and learn who to trust, needless to say, not speaking the language caused greater barriers to be overcome. Entertaining beginning to end and a good portrayal of the time in question. I really felt for the girls as their manager manipulated, and exploited them, only to show a softer side to keep them in line. A lot of the feelings kindle in this book were similar to those I felt myself when moving to India to work. The isolation, homesickness, and desperation as money runs out and no wages were received, were all things I can relate to, along with the attitudes of people towards them. This is a beautifully detailed tale. Emotional, real, and interesting. It highlights differences in cultures, practices, and understanding in a way that is entertaining.


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