Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom
Palimpsest (noun): 1. Writing material (such as parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased. 2. Something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface.
Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom is one of thousands of adopted children from South Korea around the world between the 1970s and 1980s. Adopted by Swedish parents when she was two years old, she goes to South Korea to try to find her birth mother and father. Throughout her investigation she uncovers some horrifying truths that definitely left me aghast. She is consistently subverted and lied to. The injustice of it all was heartbreaking and felt intimate. With each documentation she finds there are only more questions and less answers.
Graphic memoirs are truly a special genre, and this one is a standout. The pages emanate a certain warmth although there is nothing comfortable about her journey to discover this part of her past. But it melts your heart to know the people who fought for her to find the truth, understanding that everyone has a right to know their past.
I recently saw something on teacher twitter, someone asked what is something every child should know and study when they go to school and another educator said, “the space and knowledge to be able to research at least three generations back into their family tree.” And I don’t know I felt like there was something powerful in that. Would some of us feel more grounded if we had more knowledge of our ancestral history? What if we were given the space, freedom, and most importantly the safety to research that? I do think it is within everyone’s right to be able to know where they came from, and whether they take the opportunity or not is up to them and it is nobody else’s business. Thank you to Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom for sharing your journey with us.