Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: If I Perish

At some point I collected the name of If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim as one I should read, from a recommendation by I don't know who. It sat in my list of "to-be-reads" for quite awhile, in part because the author's name is given variously as Esther Kim or I-suk An or Esther Ahn Sook or Ahn Ei Suk. The name on my list didn't match my library's name so I wasn't entirely sure it was the same book. That seems to be an issue from attempting to translate a name from a language so very different from English.
The story is of a Korean Christian from 1939-1945. During a time of intense persecution of Christians from occupying Japanese forces, Miss Ahn decided that her faith was more important than her life. Having determined to become a martyr, she struggled alternately with her decision and with the delay of its fulfillment. Even as she is honest about her struggles she is also freed by her decision to risk her life repeatedly by speaking out the truth and in defense of her fellow prisoners, particularly fellow Christians. Whether or not we are called to be martyrs, may we all have the courage to hold our lives as lightly as Miss Ahn held hers so that we can speak as boldly and encourage others as willingly as she was able to within the walls of her prison cell.

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