Special Report

What do you think about the bullying problem in modern society? Have you been bullied? Have you bullied someone? Nowadays, bullying among classmates has become a big issue. In addition, there are some related social problems that exacerbate bullying. Ryeoryeong Kim describes the tragic consequences of bullying and these related problems in her book Elegant Lie.

The book starts with a terrible incident. The main character, Cheon-ji, commits suicide. The book tells us some stories about Cheon-ji’s family and her acquaintances to solve the mystery of Cheon-ji’s death. Cheon-ji left some messages to these people, and these messages are the most important parts in this book. At the beginning of the book, we learn that a big reason of Cheon-ji’s death is her classmate Hwa-yeon’s bullying. However, the more we figure out Cheon-ji’s messages, the clearer it becomes that the reason for Cheon-ji’s death is not just because of Hwa-yeon’s bullying. When we read this book, we have to think about all the characters around Cheon-ji like her mother and older sister who don’t know about her troubles, Hwa-yeon who bullys her and Mi-ra who ignores her problems.

Recently, this book was made into a movie, and before the premiere, this book was much loved by many people. What is the reason that people love this book?

One big reason is that this book deals with school problems in modern society. In this book, we can find bullying among friends, a teenager’s suicide problem and individualistic thinking. The example is Cheon-ji’s classmate Hwa-yeon. She bullied Cheon-ji just for fun. We can easily be reminded about today’s students like Hwa-yeon who bully others without any feelings of guilt or fear of punishment.

Another reason is that this book conveys the writer’s message to readers well. In this book, the writer also talks about lying. As you can see from the title Elegant Lie, you know lying is a key part of the story’s message. We can make ourselves graceful with an elegant lie. However, it is just a lie. It is just a mask to hide ourselves. For example, Mi-ra sees Cheon-ji’s message and she says, “I never knew about Cheon-ji’s suicide.” She pretends to be uninformed about Cheon-ji’s suicidal thoughts, but she knew. She just didn’t help Cheon-ji. In this situation, we know that Mi-ra is the best example of an elegant liar.

When I read this book, I felt ashamed. Particularly, in the last part of the book where the writer says, “Did you tell an elegant lie to someone today?” It makes me feel many things and gives me some advice. This book announces to readers the problems in our society and tells us that we do these things too. After you read this book, you will ask yourself this question at least once: Did I hurt someone today?