This article explores the ways that life writing allows transnational, transracial Asian adoptee authors to navigate their complex experiences of truth and authenticity. It also addresses the transformations adoptee authors make to the memoir genre in order to accommodate the particularities of their experiences. I analyze Jane Jeong Trenka’s foundational Asian adoption memoir, The Language of Blood, and Kim Sunée’s lesser-known text, Trail of Crumbs, paying attention to the ways that the authors’ hybridized and deliberately constructionist approaches to genre parallel some of the identity issues that are brought out in their respective books. I explore the significance of the scrapbook form in The Language of Blood and the recipe book structure in Trail of Crumbs, arguing that Trenka and Sunée create hybridized life narratives because, like many transnational, transracial Asian adoptee life writers (and subjects), their identities are so inescapably predicated on assemblage. I argue that these authors reconsider some of the customary structures, styles, and themes found in traditional memoirs, and in so doing they participate in the postmodern project of de-essentializing truth claims that is crucial to their negotiations of their identities as Korean adoptees.
Wills, Jenny Heijun
"Fictional and Fragmented Truths in Korean Adoptee Life Writing,"
Asian American Literature: Discourses & Pedagogies:
Vol. 6, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/aaldp/vol6/iss1/7