How We Disappeared

🐞 🐞 🐞 🐞

Jing-Jing Lee

Oneworld Publications

May 2, 2019

352 Pages

Goodreads | Amazon

Oh, good grief, prepare yourself for this one…


In 1942, Japanese soldiers ransack villages in Singapore, killing men, and kidnapping women and young girls so they can become sexual slaves. Wang Di is taken from her family when she’s only sixteen years old and, for the next three years, is forced to have sex with 40+ soldiers a day. Eventually she makes it out—but, of course, she can never forget.

Years later, a twelve-year old boy named Kevin is trying to figure out what happened to his grandmother. She confesses something on her deathbed, and now Kevin can’t rest until he knows the truth. Eventually, his story will connect with Wang Di’s, and the two will have to find healing in each other.


I just can’t. I know that this stuff happens, and I know we can’t turn away. In fact, I’m pretty sure the author based this book off of real-life events her family members experienced. But it’s awful. Too awful. When I was reading the passages about young Wang Di being raped over and over and over again, day after day after day, all I could think about was my daughter and all the other young girls I know. It’s horrific and overwhelming.

The story is well told, and it moves along quickly. And if you are a fan of historical fiction, you will probably enjoy it. But you really have to mentally prepare yourself for something like this, because this is heavy, heavy stuff. How We Disappeared is a well-written book, but, no, I probably wouldn’t recommend it.

Thank you to Amazon Vine and Oneworld Publications for the ARC.

8 thoughts

  1. Ugh god, yes good thing you had that warning at the top. I know what you mean-it’s important to be aware that this is going on so we can advocate for it to stop and women’s rights in general, but it’s so hard to pick up a book like this when we know the horror it contains. Sometimes sticking my head in the sand just seems easier 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the truth. I think it’s important to read stories like this, but for me it ends up being more about educating myself and less about entertainment. So truthfully, I only read a book like this every once in a while! Ugh, it can be too much…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do think it’s important that we know about these things as history, but I’ve never really understood why people read about them as fiction. To me, fiction ought to be entertaining on at least some level. But I know lots of people feel very differently and find this kind of book gives them some kind of insight. Thanks for the warning – I shall avoid!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point. Now that I think about it, I do like when a book is focused more on entertaining through a story and less on “getting a message across,” especially when it’s a dark message. But then again, books like this certainly do make an important political and social statement, and maybe their message ends up reaching a much wider audience because it’s in fiction form? I don’t know. It’s like reading the The Jungle–you read it and you learn something, but it’s not a book you go back to, it’s never a favorite.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. MEN do this to females. Think about that. If men cared about females, of any age, this would NEVER happen. They don’t even see us as living beings. This has happened to so many women/girls. Changed to beds and lines of men outside their doors. Nightmare. In some places it’s called Tourism. Sick, really sick.


    1. It’s terrible. It’s beyond terrible. It’s not human. And yes, men treat women like they’re animals, less than animals. It’s hard to wrap my mind around it.

      On a side note, when I think about all of this abortion crap going on, how all of these restrictions are simply a way of controlling women, of putting their bodies back under the control of men, god it just terrifies me. I can’t believe we’re back here, talking about these worn out archaic notions of what is ok or not ok for a woman to do with her own body. It’s not about life or supporting life, it’s about keeping women “in their place.” It makes me sick.


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