A Single Shard Review

Hey everyone!

This has been a crazy week, and an even crazier weekend, so I’m posting a bit early and only a review this time. 🙂 And, if you guys have any topics you’d like me to write about, feel free to shoot me a line or comment below!


A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Contains Spoilers!!!)

This was one of the books required for me to read on my school reading list this year. So, as it was rather small, I figured I could probably finish it in one sitting. (I actually did, lol.)
Now, I was reading the preface thing because as a good reader, I usually read through those before getting to the book itself. (I mean, there’s generally a good reason why it’s in the book in the first place.) Well… I got bored. The author went on this whole rant about where she got these ideas for the story etc. etc. etc. and I was a bit ticked off. Mainly because I prefer it when the author leaves that at the back of the book once the reader has finished reading the story itself, not dumping a rant about how much they loved writing it. I ended up skipping it altogether and then reading the actual book itself.
The book itself wasn’t a disappointment. (It’s now on my “To Buy” list, actually.) Set in “a small village on the west coast of Korea, mid- to late 12th century,” it is the endearing tale of a young and poor orphan who lives with another older and poor orphan underneath a bridge in this village, which is famous for its celadon pottery. Beginning with a joke shared between the two main characters, Tree-ear and Crane-man, I was drawn immediately into the story and was in tears near the end.
After accidentally destroying an unglazed piece by the best potter, Min, Tree-ear ends up working for the potter, hoping that perhaps Min will teach him how to make the beautiful pitchers and bowls and toys that he has always dreamed of making. Min refuses time and time again, even when an emissary from the King comes to choose the finest pottery pieces and grant a commission to the best potter. While Min does indeed make the best pieces, his rival, Kang, has tried new techniques that are more eye-catching. In one last attempt to gain the commission, Min and Tree-ear begin making more pieces, combining the techniques of Kang and Min to produce masterpieces. However, the glazing fails (scientists wouldn’t discover the reason why until much later) and Min shatters them in anger. Later, the emissary tells Min that he will give Min one last chance, because he loved Min’s work better than Kang’s. Min tries again, and succeeds with two vases. Carefully wrapped with the help of Tree-ear’s friend, Crane-man, and Min’s wife, Tree-ear sets off to the capital. When he gets robbed and the vases destroyed by robbers, Tree-ear manages to salvage one shard from the wreckage about the size of his hand. He continues on to the capital, showing his piece to the emmissary, and Min ends up gaining the commission. However, when Tree-ear returns home, he discovers that his dear friend Crane-Man died in an accident; in his hands was a little monkey that Tree-ear had molded and fired in the kiln. Tree-ear ends up being adopted by Min and learning how to create pottery. The book ends with Tree-ear designing in his mind a beautiful inlayed vase, one of the most famous in Korea, that has cranes all over it.
The book is indeed a treasure, a beautiful story that left me in tears and wanting to read it again. I give it all five stars; the book deserves it!

“But God commended His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Happy Valentine’s Day!
~ Gwyn

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