Reverse Relationships in Emergency Contact

The summer reading book option, Emergency Contact by Mary H.K Choi was about the relationship between a Penny and Sam. But the relationship that I want to write about today is the relationship between Penny Lee and her mother Celeste Yoon. From the start of the book the reader is aware of the strange dynamic between Penny and Celeste. In the first chapter we see how Penny is often embarrassed of her mom and wishes that she could be a “normal mom”. They do not have a tight knit relationship, nor do they completely hate each other. They are share a home and have some good moments, but also share a lot of rocky moments. At one point of the book Penny complains to a friend “She’s the mom. I’m sick to death of looking out for her and being paranoid she’s going to do something dumb.” (359) At this part of the book, the reader learns a lot about how Penny thinks and feels about the relationships in her life.

This relationship is an interesting relationship because it has reversed the normal PARENT/child binary. Usually the parents are the ones who have charge over the child, while the child is in the submissive role. And while Penny does not exactly control her mother, her mother was no parent to Penny either. Penny does not feel that she was able to live her life as a kid because she was busy taking care of her mom. You notice the sacrifices that Penny has made in order to ensure that her mom is okay, one being her choosing a college that is close to home despite wanting to go far. Penny accounted that Celeste is a single mom living on her own, so she stayed close for her mom in case she was needed at home.This reverse in the normal binary was a very interesting aspect to the book. It is also seen by noticing that Penny refers to her mom by her first name, Celeste, because she does not feel that “mom” is appropriate given their relationship.

Throughout the book Emergency Contact, Mary H.K Choi wrote about many relationships and connections. Penny’s relationship with her mom was one that stood out because she went against the typical binary that we see between a daughter and her mother.

Escape from Spiderhead-Relating it to life.

Throughout Escape from Spiderhead, the story mentioned some very thought provoking ideas that apply to the lives of both those in the story and the readers. A quote that really stuck with me was towards the end of the story, “At birth, they’d been charged by God with the responsibility of growing into total fuckups.” (79). This quote was very striking to me. They way that it challenges an idea that we often hear while growing up made made me think whether it is true, or just something that we are told as kids. A predetermined destiny is often something that we are not taught. While growing up, we are taught that we can accomplish anything that we want if we work hard enough. And while this may be true to a certain extent, hard work can only go so far, some people are dealt with bad cards and it is nearly impossible to turn them into a winning deck. All of the people in Escape from Spiderhead study were ex-convicts. While we do not know all of their stories, it can be questioned if they were all determined to end up in this life, or if other things are factored in. Jeff was only nineteen when he killed his Mike (76), was Jeff born a killer or did he just get too angry and aggressive in that moment. Many moments in this story make you think deeper into the story.