Review of Emergency Contact by H. K. Choi
Updated: Mar 12, 2022
I bought the book because of the cover image. I totally understand that by saying this, you may go evaluate my book covers and some of those are going to make you say, what?
I know this. I am an indie author. I didn't have a publishing team and a brilliant illustrator working on every cover I have. I'm getting better covers as I can afford them.
Back to the book. This young adult novel features a recent HS graduate in her first semester at college. You can go to Goodreads and get a low down of what readers thought and I agree with a lot of that.
As a writer, there is a hidden gem in this novel that made every other page worth reading. Made you re-think and re-evaluate every other page in this novel. On page 83 of the printed edition, the college professor talks about writing characters. Asking yourself, as the writer, the questions we all need to ask ourselves as writers. I loved that this is in here because I have spent many years in front of a classroom or digitally leading a class and this lecture is one of my favorite ones to give, to new writers, but all storytellers need to be reminded of it.
I'm not going to go through all of them. I am just going to talk about one of them.
Is it okay? That depends.
If you are unintentionally putting in stereotypical characteristics, then no, that is not okay. You need to do more research and broaden your social circle. (My blog, my opinion)
If you are intentionally doing it as a means of character comparison, a growth opportunity, or some other function, then yes, it is a tool for your creative toolbox.
Stereotypes are not limited to any one race, gender, economic status. etc. Everyone faces stereotypes and at some point in your life being stereotyped by others, consciously or subconsciously, this stuff happens.
What you do with them as a writer matters. It matters to your reader. It matters a lot to your reader who may fall into one of those categories either on purpose or by circumstance. How you handle those characters is part of your writing development.
If you read this book, you may be able to see how Choi handled several stereotypes which just made the point the character of the instructor made on page 83 all the more powerful. As a reader, the book was good. As a writer, the book was way better. I would put it on my assigned reading list if I were teaching a creative writing class.