Category Archives: Reviews

From the beginning to the end, Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty’s compassion, love and grace had me tear up quietly…. By Dr. Yun-Sook Hong, retired professor University of Pennsylvania, University of California Berkeley, Han-Yang University in Seoul

I found myself savoring each word, counting pages, afraid the story would end. Ms. Bukaty sets out the chapters in chronological order but each chapter as a separately standing piece.  She chronicles her life’s journey through distinct episodes.  The author allows the reader to feel with her through the dialogue and the gripping description of her emotions.

For someone who shared the same campus, (I went to Ewha Girl’s High School) Sang Bukaty’s honest and detailed description, particularly her incredibly vivid memory as a 5-year old child was so engaging, at times I felt as if I was reading my story.

A reader can only come away feeling the genuine love the author has toward her family and friends, as well as respect toward her past teachers.

(This review was translated into English from Korean)

Rare Opportunity to read a first hand account of a young student/musician’s journey…..Helie Lee, best selling author of “Still Life with Rice”

So many courageous stories of early Korean immigrants to America have been lost because many of our parents could not tell their own stories in English to their children. Sang Bukaty’s memoir, Grace Notes, is a rare opportunity to read a first hand account of a young student/ musician’s journey to America and the new life she had built for herself and her three daughters

Grace Notes was a real page-turner. Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty definitely has a book ministry. by Bettye Roland (1/10)

Grace Notes was a real page-turner. I empathized with the author’s experiences as a small child during war and found them humbling. I’ve always known that both my temperament and world view have been shaped by my own experiences between the ages of four and six when my father was serving in WWII. Like Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty, I was very definitely a “daddy’s girl” and his absence converted my happy-go-lucky and secure demeanor into one rather solemn and definitely fearful. I’m sure my mother had no idea that the news reels shown when the two of us went to an occasional movie had any effect on me, but seeing bombs bursting around fox holes and German soldiers advancing en masse with their bayonette-affixed rifles scared, to be quite literal, the pee out of me. I had horrible nightmares that my own father was one of those men being blown to bits and that those German soldiers were in my own house and about to stab me as I curled in a fetal position under the dirty clothes in the hamper in our utility closet. I think I must have wet the bed nightly until he returned safe and sound after fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and being awarded two purple hearts. Traumatic? Yes, but reading your story made my own seem like a walk in the park.

I knew next to nothing about Korea’s culture and history and was grateful to be enlightened. Even more satisfying, however, was learning more about the person who wrote this amazing story. I marvel at her accomplishments, admire the way she loves her family, but am most impressed and praise God for her testimony. Knowing what the true pearl of great price is, a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, makes us sisters in the most blessed of all families. The literary full circle of the pearl from the beginning of the book to the end was most definitely appreciated.

I also related to a Christian who occasionally regurgitates a not-so-nice four-letter word. We’re in process–not perfect! Might even do you in good stead on those campuses, and I think it’s great to be there. We Christians share our faith and lead others to the pearl in diverse ways based on the gifts of the Spirit with which we’ve been endowed. Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty definitely has a book ministry.

Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty is a great story teller of her age contemporaries, first generation Korean-American immigrants…..-Dr. Suzie Oh, Principal, Los Angeles Unified School District (2/10)

Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty tells a poignant and heartwarming story of a first generation Korean-American’s journey through her life. It beautifully connects with English-speaking Americans of all heritages.

“Thank you for sharing your journey so vividly with all of us. ‘Grace Notes’ should be required reading for all students at all levels.”

The song of life, Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/09)

“Grace Notes” tells the story of the author Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty’s life.  She began her journey in Korea during the war.  Being born into a prestigious family, she still experienced many hardships when she had to flee her home, with her family, to survive.  Upon returning home and settling down again, she knew that she was different from the rest of her family.  She had to deal with being ostracized by them because she did not have their book smarts.  Being a top student and getting accepted at a prestigious school was critical for the social standing of both the child and the parents.  Sang-Eun did not feel like she fit into the mold that was decided for her.  She was also devastated when her beloved father passed away while she was still very young.

When she discovered a love for music, she found her true calling.  This brought her a great deal of respect.  But it also meant that she had to learn how to deal with the stresses involved with the intense training and performances.  Deciding that the United States offered some exceptional opportunities for her to be educated, she made the journey over to attend college.  Being unofficially adopted by an American couple, she was introduced to the American way of life.  At times she found it fascinating; other times once again, she did not feel like she was a part of it.  Through her music she continued to express herself.

When she met her first husband, who was also Korean, she felt comfortable because they shared their culture; however, she was not totally at peace with him because of his controlling ways and lack of Christian faith.  She pulled away from her music.  She did have three beautiful daughters with him that helped give her life meaning and strengthen her faith.  Reaching within herself for strength and a desire to have her daughters grow up in a happy home, she divorced her husband.  In time she found a great love to share her life with.

“Grace Notes” by Sang-Eun Lee Bukaty is a beautiful, contemplative reflection of one woman’s journey through life.  In both her homeland and in her newfound land Sang-Eun experiences feeling different from others.  She has some incredible people enter her life as teachers.  Not all of the lessons learned from these people were easy.  Her faith in Christ, and her love for her family, carries her a long way through her experiences.  I highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy biographies, women’s reader groups, and to families of immigrants.  So much wisdom will be gained by seeing life through Sang-Eun’s eyes.