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  • The Best Girls

  • Disorder collection
  • By: Min Jin Lee
  • Narrated by: Greta Jung
  • Length: 37 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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The Best Girls cover art

The Best Girls

By: Min Jin Lee
Narrated by: Greta Jung
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Summary

Inspired by a true event, this powerful short story from the author of National Book Award finalist Pachinko explores the meaning of patriarchy and the cost of female silence through the eyes of a dutiful young girl.

An excellent student from a poor, traditional family in Seoul, the narrator has absorbed the same message her whole life: Only a boy can provide the family with dignity and wealth. Not her. Not her three sisters. Receiving approval only for uncomplaining sacrifice, she has resolved to take on her family’s troubles. She is a good girl. And she knows what good girls must do.

The Best Girls is part of Disorder, a collection of six short stories of living nightmares, chilling visions, and uncanny imagination that explore a world losing its balance in terrifying ways. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single disorienting sitting.

©2019 Min Jin Lee (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

“Listeners will be shattered by this short gut punch of an audiobook, narrated with tender precision by Greta Jung.... Jung’s deliberate tone, warming as the girl’s personality unfolds, perfectly matches Lee’s spare prose and heightens the sense of isolate that sets the girl apart.” --AudioFile

What listeners say about The Best Girls

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A sad, little story

The only way this poor family in Seoul can gain any sort of dignity, is through a son. And what do they get? One, two, three daughters. What a curse. Fortunately, their fourth child is a boy, and it becomes painfully clear to the girls how they will never be as valued as their brother. What a sad, little story this was.

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Not sure how I felt about this one

It wasn't a bad story per se, but there wasn't any real appeal aside from the brevity of it. I couldn't see the end coming, but the whole story left a bitter taste anyway with the way it captured a tradition that favours boys.
Sometimes you tell yourself that you know these things as abstract concepts, but then you read something like this and remember that it's still a thing and a lot of people think it's right, too.

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  • Qats reads
  • 23-08-19

Brings back sadness and hurt

Tight construction. Lean prose. Well written. I can feel the hopelessness of poverty and of being a throw away girl. We learn we are different when we see how other parents praise and take joy in their child’s success. Then we know what it means to be “less than”.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nancy
  • 24-11-20

Never expected

This was amazing, I was lost in the details and never saw it coming. Its amazing well written and read even better. I saw what the author was showing and felt what the narrative was trying to convey. Wow! Thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • zunsuke
  • 27-02-20

what the hell did I just listen to?

awful story, wooden performance. 0/10.

I hope this was a freebie--i can't remember how it joined my library...

1 person found this helpful

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  • JiQ
  • 27-10-22

Too short 😪 ... such a lovely listen. Greta Jung is a superb narrator.

Very well worth the read or listen but too short ... such a succinct overview of the manner in which girls and women are treated in a patriarchal society and the loss & damage sustained by us all. We are so much the poorer because of the inequality that pervades - subjectively or objectively - our societies, communities, families and inner selves. Min Jin lee does a superb job of highlighting this and Greta Jung does an absolutely stellar job of telling the tale. Well worth it.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-10-22

Wow. Powerful Story.

The straight-forward narration allows you to forget it is, in fact, a horror story. Very well done.

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  • Sarah B
  • 17-04-22

Couldn't stop listening!

Hard to put it down and I think this was partly because the narrator was so good. I am usually not into short stories but I was riveted by this one.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-12-21

Unexpected and Memorable

The narration is slow and stoic, which matches the story. This touched on some key pain points prevalant in South Korean culture, present even to this day. I enjoyed this dark tale.

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  • A. Kim
  • 06-12-21

thoughtful understanding of Korean psyche

the story is quiet and thoughtful and reflects a genuine understanding of the Korean psyche.

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  • Sylvia
  • 28-09-21

Good story

Good story but very short but well told, it had a sad ending. I would recommend the Best Girls.

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  • 🦑
  • 04-05-21

Recommendable, but short.

A depressing end that was fairly well foreshadowed. A subtle disaster.

Recommendable, but short. Good audiobook narration.