Mae Adams, Author

Mae Adams was born in Korea in 1933 as the second daughter and abandoned by her mother for she was not a son. In the Korean family system of that time, the first-born son was a blessing as he inherited the family fortune and was responsible for the entire family. This notion brought on the unfair treatment of daughters, although most families accepted the first daughter with reluctant grace. Mae grew up in her Aristocratic family which had retreated to the family resort estate in the mountain village after the assassination of Queen Min by the Japanese on October 18, 1895.

Mae’s relationship with her mother was stormy at best, and Mae’s father ignored her and never spoke to her until he died when Mae was five and a half years old. But, Mae’s step-grandma raised her in that mountain village and gave her a pair of silver chopsticks as a symbol of her love on her first birthday. She also had tender love from her grandpa and Little-Pa.

She came of age in a country that was occupied by the Japanese empire, received a Japanese education and endured their abuse of Koreans. At the end of the World War II, when the country was divided in half, the family endured a harrowing escape from the Communist regime that took over her hometown, while her grandma stayed behind to give the family time to escape. Five years later, the family survived the Korean War narrowly escaping death several times.

After the war, she became the breadwinner of her family, managing export businesses, and dreamed of going to America to get a college education. She met the man of her dreams, an American Marine colonel, but left him to pursue her education. During the three years of her separation from him, she continued a long-distance love affair with the colonel.

Finally, she married her colonel and raised a family. After 43 years together, her husband passed away when she was 71. Through the grieving process, she started to write her memoir as therapy. From that first book, “Precious Silver Chopsticks” was born which later became an Amazon #1 best seller. She has now released her second book "Coin for a Dream" which has also become an Amazon #1 best seller.

She lives in McCormick, SC, USA, near her daughter's family.

Coin for a Dream

If you would like to keep company with delightful characters like monks, shamans, evil spirits, goblins, kings and queens, ginseng boys, and many others for a while, then you have come to the right place. Mae Adams, the author of her spellbinding life story “Precious Silver Chopsticks,” presents a book of short stories “Coin for a Dream” from her early years in Korea.

The monks with flapping minds, tofu peddlers, evil spirits, wrestling goblins, deadly dancing shamans, singing lepers of Sorok Island and many others will greet you with open arms. You will meet the elder members of Mae’s family in “Gentleman’s Dilemma,” “Simple Arithmetic,” “My Dragon Lady,” “Ugly Governor,” and “Wife Fearing Magistrate.” You can even catch sight of a romance in “Under the Ginkgo Tree.”

Some of them are Mae’s own stories, and some are stories shared with the family. It is a storybook of this world, the afterworld, traditional tales and mythology offering considerable entertainment. Mae weaves Korean customs, traditions, religions, and social status in these little stories with the voice of a natural storyteller. You will go on an emotional journey with her as she presents her history through these captivating stories. You will chuckle, you will laugh out loud with glee, you will kick in anger at the injustices done and weep out a well of tears with sadness. It is a beautiful collection of goodwill from Korea you don’t want to miss.

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Precious Silver Chopsticks

From her childhood in a North Korean mountain village to a successful life in the United States, the years have brought Mae Adams many challenges. With the past full of ghosts, her final challenge is to share her story.

Rejected by a mother who did not want a second daughter, Mae grew up on the periphery of her aristocratic Korean family. Her loving step-grandma (a commoner) took care of her, allowing her to explore the joys and perils of their rural home. Mae describes her emergence into Korean culture, from her Japanese-style education to her most prized possession: her pair of silver chopsticks.

She endures her mother’s abuse, almost-tragic accidents, and her father’s funeral. But things would get much worse. At the end of World War II, Mae and her family flee to South Korea, while her grandma stays behind. Within five years the Korean War erupts, and again they spend several years as refugees before Mae came to the United States for a college education.

Her memoir delves into Korean history and the Japanese occupation, following Mae until her happy ending: marriage to a US Marine colonel and a family and career of her own.

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Pictures from my speaking engagements

Culturally enlightening

Stories were unique and interesting..I appreciated learning more about Korea, especially with that land being in the forefront of the world news these days. I admire mae Adams courage


Amazon Reader

Incredible Memoir That Casts Rose-Tinted Glasses Aside in Lieu of Honesty

Korean born South Carolina author Mae Adams offers a book of stories from a childhood in Korea – stories related to her by her grandma and grandpa that sweep the spectrum of fantasy, mythology, traditional tales, and realities, offering considerable entertainment. At the end of her book Mae leaves a small biography – her birth in an aristocratic family in Korea, the loss of her parents, the Japanese occupation, escape from a Communist regime, the Korean War, her marriage to an American Marine Colonel and her move to America, becoming a successful business woman. Her first book was PRECIOUS SILVER CHOPSTICKS. COIN FOR A DREAM is her second publication. Since the stories are related to a child by her grandparents, there is no apparent character development, nor should there be. The stories flow easily from Mae’s pen, related in a conversational manner that makes reading them a pleasure. Fragments of Korean customs, foods, traditions, religions, and social standings weave through these little stories with ease. The life of a tofu seller is jolly until the seller’s wife, ill with tuberculosis, states she would sell her soul for a bowl of hot soup – and the tofu seller departs on his day of work fully intending to honor his wife’s wish, but his dalliance results in his wife’s demise and he must deal with the guilt…or understand the workings of a water ghost! In another tale, a young lass longs to marry a governor but is tricked into being placed in a box to be delivered by a dishonest monk only to be discovered by a tiger hunting governor who opens the box to find his dream love. Other stories relate jaunts with the Ginseng Boys, a romance under the Gingko tree, the singing lepers of Sorok Island, and while mentioning this last story, a sample of the author’s writing is shared here: ‘In the autumn of 1939 while I was still living with my grandparents, one day, two lepers came to our house. The lepers were scary, yet captivating. The proper etiquette I learned for six long years of my life disappeared as I gawked at them, studying every inch of their disfigured faces. One of them had two holes in place of the nose, and one of his ears was missing. Big, discolored lumps covered their faces as if worms had eaten away their flesh and the muscles from under the skin. But they sang with gusto. The singing lepers are here again. Lend us your smiles for a promise kept. Lend us your ears for a song of misery, Budta, budta, budd, ta, ta, Our visit is short for the journey is long.’ The stories illuminate Korean culture with that age-old custom of keeping history alive by sharing favorite tales. Mae Adams presents her history through these charming Korean stories to which we respond with giggles and glee as well as empathy and tears. This is a fine collection of good will from a talented author. Grady Harp, October 19 I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book

Grady Harp Top Contributor: Children's Books


A great series of short stories.

An endearing series of short stories. Delves a little into the history of North Korea and more fully explains Mae's family escape from North Korea. Do you know why they build crooked roads? Read the book to find out why!

Linda Crochet

Amazon Reader

Short stories that tell of life and learning

This collection of short stories will give you a glimpse into the life of Korea, it’s customs, and the many things that occur with tradition and religion. Mae Adams has put together a great story that takes the reader on this journey through the lives of Mae and her family and some of the customs and traditions they follow. Along with these customs, there are also many other events that she will share through the writings of this book. I am always looking to learn new things and love a good read and this one is a good and educational story about the Korean culture. There are many good stories to follow and relate to. Check this one out folks. This is a good one for sure.

Jimmy ray

Amazon Reader

Shory Refreshing Stories

Coin for a Dream is a collection of short refreshing stories that would entertain both young and old alike. The stories have some sort of twist and progresses in the manner in which the author actually heard or experienced them. They are clean and written in simple English so even young children can read and enjoy them. In the background we come across the life of the author as a young girl and this acquaints us to the life of Korea in the past.


Amazon Reader

A short story collection with insight into Korean culture!

The book is a collection of short stories by the author from her life in Korea that provides good insight into the Korean culture traditions, life and religion filled with emotions. I laughed, had tears, felt happy and sad both at times. Each story is different and comes with a message and connects with Korean culture. The stories are personal to the author and gives a view of her family members and life in her early years in Korea. A good collection to keep and enjoy!


Amazon Reader

Page after page I learned more and more

Reading this book, I felt warmth and kindness. Honestly, I don’t know very much about a country like Korea, but I would certainly like to go there and learn something new. Thanks to Coin for a Dream, I felt this atmosphere. Stories about a little girl, her grandparents penetrate into the soul. Author May Adams decided to tell readers about her homeland through stories from her life. I learned interesting information about their traditions, their views of life. You are immersed in an amazing adventure through a previously unknown world. It was easy and very interesting to read. Page after page I learned more and more. A good book for those who are looking for something new for themselves. I believe that when the author writes about her experience, then you kind of live this life with her anew and it cannot leave you indifferent. I definitely recommend it to everyone.

Julius Z

Amazon Reader

Great collection

Coin for a Dream: Stories from My Early Years by Mae Adams is a fantastic collection of short stories that gives insights into different parts of North Korean religion, culture, and customs. While each of the stories tells a larger story about living in North Korea, each story can also be read separately without having any knowledge of the others. The stories read quickly and keep the reader interested throughout. I personally really enjoyed the stories that were focused on the supernatural elements in the culture. I found them to be entertaining and insightful because there is a lot that you can learn about a culture and its people based on their beliefs in the supernatural. The anthology is nicely edited and the pacing in each of the stories is good which makes it easy to read each quickly and get into the next one. Fans of fiction will enjoy this as well as anyone who is interested in learning about North Korean culture from the perspective of the stories told by the people.

Phil Bolos

Amazon Reader

so great!

I was able to read the other book by this author " Precious Silver Chopsticks" and i absolutely loved it. I loved learning about how she grew up and the trials that she went through and over came. It as fascinating to me. So naturally, when i saw that she had written this book as well, I had to read it! It did not disappoint! This book is all stories that shew as told as a child and they are amazing! Some are funny!! I loved reading the different stories and it just reiterated how different every ones childhood really is and how it shapes us into the adults we become.

Katie Maughan

Amazon Reader


If you’ve ever been curious to hear about life in North Korea from someone who has actually lived there, then I suggest getting this book. This is a collection of short stories surrounding the authors life as a young girl in North Korea. The stories have one thing in common, they are presented as oral stories told to a young girl by her grandparents. These types of stories always have morals and I was not disappointed to see the North Korean culture, religion, superstitions and customs that come to light throughout the stories. They were very interesting to read, and I certainly would recommend this book to others. I found no issue in the presentation of the book, grammar or sentence syntax as can sometimes be seen in books that touch on foreign cultures which was promising. The pacing was good and steady throughout and the order of the stories was well thought out.

J. Armstrong

Amazon Reader

Korean Life: Childhood Tales of Enlightenment

A selection of tales of sweet enlightenment of Korean life between young and older generation. I have read the author's first novel and loved it. So sincere, witty and heart-warming interaction, a lot based on Buddhist teachings. The author was born in Korea in 1933, as the second daughter of an aristocratic family, and abandoned by her mother for she was not the son she wanted. Raised by her grandparents in their mountain village resort whereher family retreated when the Japanese invaded Korea in 1910. Her grandma gave her a pair of magic silver chopsticks as a symbol of her love and to protection. Young life was a struggle. She went to a Japanese school, learned the Japanese language, and endured their abuse of Koreans. But hard luck kept following. From 1950 to 1953, her family lived through the harrowing Korean War and lost what they had rebuilt. Fighting back she managed to receive American college education, married an American marine and raised a family. After forty-three years together, her husband lost the battle with cancer when the author was seventy-one. While grieving, she wrote a memoir as therapy. Her first book, “Precious Silver Chopsticks,” came from the memoir for publication. English is her fourth language, and “Coin for a Dream” is her second book. In the book you will find short tales demonstrating South Korean life principles, customs rites, ancient history and much more. We hear of wandering spirits, goblins, herbal medicine, foreboding, Korean mythology and more. But praying to the mountain spirit to cure a tumor, a belief maintained from her mountain village where civilization reached a half-century later, people lived by superstitions. Tales of Spirit Worship and ghosts, entertained that a higher authority would compensate them with the power of protection against evil spirits, wickedness, and underworld. Excerpt: “Our supernatural mythology comes from the so-called ‘tales.’ In the tales are myths, legends, and folklore. Most of the stories of ghosts, scary spirits, and monsters are myths." Korean spirituality is well described with following as illustration: “The Korean man is a product of oriental religion, the edicts of tyrannical kings, and powerful social background.” Was it possible for any woman to break a Korean man’s heart? I doubted it. " To most Korean men, women only existed to serve them. For the author that was horrible. She embraced her life in America and can with contrast look at her young life in Korea through the eyes of a child in this book. An enjoyable and inventive approach to story-telling. Scarlett Jensen 4 November 2019

Scarlett Jensen

Amazon Reader

Great Book with Fascinating Stories

This book was full of many wonderful and interesting stories. I loved that Mae wanted to share all of these stories and childhood memories with us readers. I especially enjoyed reading about Mae and her grandparents who raised her as their own. They seemed to have a very special relationship with each other and I loved how Mae’s grandparents protected her from when she was a baby to when she was older. Mae does a great job of taking us on her journey as a young child, what is was like as she was growing up in Korea, and what her and her family had to go through during many difficult events, such as the Japanese invasion of Korea, World War II, and the Korean War. Mae is also great at retelling all of the stories she heard from her family throughout her childhood. They told her a lot of fascinating and magical stories that also had very good messages within the stories. I think it is amazing that she was able to remember so many stories and memories so vividly and to share these stories with us. I hope that she will be writing another book to share with us.

Jenny Goff

Amazon Reader

Good read

Coin for a Dream: Stories from My Early Years by Mae Adams. I remember her first book “Precious Silver Chopsticks” where she writes about her life, and now this new book that tells about her life too but differently, the other one was since she was born, all she had to pass and this one is about her life with her grandparents, where she learned plenty of things that will help her during her whole life and this one are like short stories about things that actually happened in her life as a child, these short stories are filled with tradition, religion, ways of thinking and culture of North Korea, some are personal stories other are stories told by her grandparents, but all of them are very interesting, easy to follow and full of culture of another world, that open my eyes to it, interesting way of telling stories.



Interesting and very well written

I read another book by Mae Adams’ “Precious Silver Chopsticks” and it was such a memorable book about an incredible life. This book, Coin for a Dream: Stories from My Early Years, is told in the same way but is a collection of different stories. I love the way that the author writes about her childhood and gives glimpses into the Korean and Japanese cultures that she was surrounded by. The stories range from joyful to devastating, and the range is interesting and keeps the book well balanced. I would definitely recommend this read.

Corrie M

Amazon Reader

Interesting Insight into North Korean Culture

Learning about culture, religion, customs, traditions of other countries is something that can help us recognize just how much we humans have in common. I’ve read stories, both fiction and non-fiction about many countries, but Coin for a Dream: Stories from My Early Years by Mae Adams was my first book to see a little into North Korean culture. We learn about the author’s homeland through these stories from her childhood. Some of the stories are happy and others sad, but each one contains a moral. I enjoyed her writing style and will be getting her first book Precious Silver Shopsticks next.


Amazon Reader

A great collection of stories...

This book taught me a few things. I even had to look up a couple of words because I did not know what they meant. This was really exciting for me and I enjoyed it. I also liked that even though it is real to life, the characters are described richly, so you can get a feel for the family and what they were like. The essentially folklore parts of them are just as entertaining. The stories also tell you a lot about Korea and what people great up believing. The author writes this in a way that lets you sit in on it, much like when you sit around a campfire and share stories. In some stories, you feel like you are right there with them too. I went through many emotions reading this and I think that if you like history, it is something you can benefit from reading.I read the book. It is my favorite of all books. It is so full of history, humor, and knowing ones feelings that it is truly amazing. What an unexpected ending to a wonderful story. Mae, thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts in such a wonderful book.

mint tea

Amazon Reader

A breath of fresh air from the old stories I've heard about North Korea.

Old people have great stories to tell, says my boss when we were having a conversation over lunch. I should say this book proved him right—Coin For A Dream is a collection of short stories written by an elderly lady and it somehow satisfied my ceaseless fascination of the Korean culture. Okay, this book actually talked about the North Korean culture, but I believe this isn’t a far cry to the southern culture I’ve learned to somehow admire and appreciate (hello, Kdrama lovers!). North Korea is a place that isn’t talked about just like this, it has always been associated with wars and oppression and nuclear missiles. But to talk about the place and the myths it believes, along with the goblins and wandering evil spirits and ghosts, oh yes, we’re talking. I am not very much exposed to Asian books (except for the ones written by the people of my country) and the culture and supernatural belief is rich and is very fascinating. What fascinated me more in this book is that it was written in the point of view of a child, so I was kind of like listening to my grandmother as she goes back to her early days and tell stories from her memories.


Amazon Reader emotional and entertaining journey....

The editorial blurb on this book Coin for a Dream by Mae Adams strongly hints at entertainment, and invites the reader to stories portraying a multiscope of life and fantasy in Korea during the Japanese occupation., With an engaging picture on the cover, the author presents us with a sociology story book from which we learn of Korean customs, traditions, religions, and social status, and plain lore believed or not believed to be true. She also portrays her family life, garnered from her grandmother and grandfather. She convinces the reader that she is a natural storyteller - there is a feeling of credibility running through the stories. Be prepared for a wonderful weave of living and fantasy, goblins and shamans; evil spirits and kind kings, among other ‘things’. The book blurb summarizes: “You will chuckle, you will laugh out loud with glee, you will kick in anger at the injustices done and weep out a well of tears with sadness. It is a beautiful collection of goodwill from Korea you don’t want to miss.” You will find that the stories are well and simply written and interesting so that this objective is realized. in an entertaining emotional journey. Among the many stories I really liked King Sejong’s Country Gent. I earnestly invite you to get your own pleasure from all the stories.

Winston J. Phillips

Amazon Reader

Chicken soup for the soul

This book reminds me of the short stories in the books “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. Like the mentioned book, “Coin For a Dream” gave me a sense of serenity and comfort, as if these stories were being told by a fire and some hot chocolate from my own grandma. I really enjoyed reading the anecdotes and the legends that accompany them. It was nice to learn some words that are part of Korean tradition as well. I really like sit and I will go back and read some of my favorite chapters all over again for sure.

Rebecca A.

Amazon Reader

Never Too Many Dreams

Coin For A Dream is a collection of Korean stories from the author’s youth. Some stories are like fables and others more like parables to teach a principle. I enjoyed reading them although not all had happy endings. I was entertained by the “Monk’s Minds are Flapping”. I was saddened that after all they had suffered that Poxy and Kim came to a tragic end. In the “The Ugly Governor”, I liked that despite the townsfolk talk, the ugly young man became successful. The author’s writing style is enchanting and engaging. The stories popped to life and the author’s notes about what was happening in her life brought the stories into prospective. The only thing I think would have made it better was if there was more delineation between the stories and her reflections. If it was in more of anthology format, it would be easier to find stories to reread them. When I saw the cover, I first thought it may be a children’s book and think some of the stories could be put into one. I hope that she will share others she remembers so that the tales will not be forgotten.

BeautyFul Word

Amazon Reader

Inspiring. if you want to get to know Korea, this is your chance

When I read the author’s biography, I thought the book had it tough to surpass the mixed feelings and a sense of nostalgia that it provoked in me. I was utterly wrong. This compilation of beautiful stories is a treasure. In them, we learn a lot. We learn about Korea –its traditions and conventionalisms – we learn about the author’s younger years (after being abandoned by her parents because she wasn’t a boy). Moreover, we learn about her grandparents, a lovely couple with enough love to take care of little Mae, and enough patience to answer her multiple inquiries. Her innate curiosity was charming, and the ability to imagine fantasy creatures is inspiring. I loved how she linked traces of Korean history with an imaginary world. Suitable for young audiences and adults, this book brought laughter to my lips.

Lorenza Seldner

Amazon Reader

Great bio touched with magical realism

Mae Adams, who also authored Precious Silver Chopsticks, has once again woven together a compelling biographical piece touched with engaging elements of magical realism, which will evoke a real sense of immersion in the world she was raised in. Coin for a Dream reminds me a little bit of the writing of Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club) and South American weavers of magical realism Gabriel García Márquez and Jorge Luis Borges. It's truly an enjoyable read that captures the magic of childhood and brings it into every page for adult readers, creating an immersive experience that makes you feel as if you're seeing a different world through her young eyes.

Charles Hanna

Amazon Reader

Enchanting and engaging

Coin for a Dream: Stories from My Early Years is a touching book with short stories about Korean traditions, myths and fables. A beautiful and emotional introduction to a not so well-known culture and the mystical side of it. Because of the language used, it almost feels as we are reading Korean fairytales. The author does a really nice job, with short stories that easily appeal to everyone, regardless of their age or interests. Mae Adams has a very unique and enchanting writing. With her captivating style she’s able to carry the reader into her childhood memories, engaging us into her stories. The short stories are easy to follow, perfect to take with you and read during your commute. The only problem is that one is not enough, so you’ll have to pace yourself in order to not finish the book in a couple of days.


Amazon Reader

Well Written Short Stories

A collection of short stories from the Mae Adams younger years in Korea. As told to her by family members and people she met along the way. Mae was born in Korea in 1933, received a Japanese education. Then escaped from a Communist regime, lives through the Korean War and comes to America to get a college education. My favorite story was Tofu Peddler and Water Ghost, it was quite interesting to learn how Tofu was created. This was a well written and interesting book. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

K Puck

Amazon Reader

Coin for a Dream: Stories from My Early Years An honest reminder of how pleasurable childhood can be

The author refreshes our minds with a selection of stories we were conversant with growing up in Korea. From my own perception, the author of this book Mae Adams did a good job of putting these stories together. “Coin for a Dream” contains stories that teaches moral lessons. There are also other stories that simply entertains the reader. I found stories like: The Ugly Governor, very interesting and encouraging. It’s a subtle reminder that no matter how people try to talk you down, a determination can bring you success. Mae has an interesting way of putting these stories together. There is a lot to learn from this story about the Asian culture from the rich culture to their belief system. Mae approached this book from a childlike perspective which found its way even to the cover design of this wonderful book. There are a lot of interesting stories in this small book. I’m sure you will find something that will keep you engaged for a long time. Every moment I spent reading this book is totally worth it.


Amazon Reader

An interweaving of mythology and life

It is safe to say you have never come across an autobiography like this one, and that you will probably never see another quite like it. The author, Mae Adams, was born into a wealthy family in Korea in 1933 but saw her family’s fortunes change drastically when the Japanese invaded the country. More challenges came with the Korean War. Despite these events, Coin for a Dream never gives in to despair, but rather feels like an ode to staying hopeful. The book explores the author’s experiences growing up, and offers various tales taken from Korean folklore. Many of these stories were told to Adams by her grandparents. What is at first striking is the similarity in mythological figures to those found in many Western fairytales. The stories are often whimsical, but many are infused with a certain wisdom, no doubt meant to guide people through life. Adams does not shy away from the flaws of a culture that reveres boys more than girls, and in which girls can be abandoned by their parents. These stories are rich in characters such as goblins, evil spirits, shamans and royalty. The author’s love for the stories is obvious and interweaving these tales with her own life story gives the narrative an added resonance. Some stories are humorous, some are touching, and a few are heartbreaking, but ultimately, this is a tale of triumph.

Jessica McC

Amazon Reader


Precious Silver Chopsticks by Mae Adams is an uplifting and heartbreaking story of a woman who started at the top, fell to the bottom, and climbed the ladder to return to the top. Mae was born in North Korea in 1933. Being the second daughter in the family, she was pushed aside by both her father and her mother. Her father ignored her because he had wanted a son, but never caused her any harrm. Her mother was more abusive in her treatment of Mae to seek love elsewhere, and she found it with her grandmother and grandfather. While her parents were wealthy and part of the aristocracy, her grandparents were commoners which allowed her to experience life from two different perspectives. This allowed her to grow as a person in ways that were greatly help her later in life. She learned that anything worth having has to be earned, and that people who you can count on will do anything for you no matter the cost. This was especially true after WW II when her family fled to the south. From here, the aristocratic life was over and the hard work had to begin. But Mae had already learned how to overcome these obstacles and she knew how to lift herself back up. This was a phenomenal read. Mae has done a wonderful job telling us the hardships she had to go through and the victories she accomplished on the road to where she is today. The story is well written a great attention has been given to editing and flow. This is just one more feather in an already very full cap. Excellent job to the author, and I hope that she continues to write.

Phil Bolos

Amazon Reader

Incredible Memoir That Casts Rose-Tinted Glasses Aside in Lieu of Honesty

“Precious Silver Chopsticks” is a raw, unfiltered memoir of life in a society broken by oppression, sexism, and scarcity. Much of the troubles Mae Hee encountered were the result of anachronistic, anti-woman beliefs enforced by the fact that Korea had been held down or war-ravaged by nation after nation without mercy. The dire pressures of life manifest themselves in resentment of mother against daughter, of daughter against mother, and most of all in men against women. Mae Hee does not hold back in the telling of her tale. The abuse she felt at the hands of her mother, whose noble birth imparted an attitude of superiority, is explored in full and contrasts starkly with the love she received from her country-born grandparents. Unburdened by the need to keep up social appearances in cities with radically different – and rapidly changing – cultural views, her grandparents and their “country folk” neighbors were able to reflect on and reject the desperation-borne philosophies that led the rest of Mae Hee’s family to reject her as a “useless second daughter.” I can thoroughly recommend this memoir to anyone who wishes to gaze with honest eyes at the pain and corruption that is born from inequality, from hatred, from desperation. It is not an easy read at first, but it is an educational, moving, and powerful one.

Emilie Sovis

Amazon Reader

Wow that was heartbreaking book!

Wow that was heartbreaking book! This book was so a true story that was so well-written. I really enjoyed this book even if it made me cry a few times. This is Mae’s life story. And it was a heartbreaking one for being the second child born to a Korean family. Her father plainly rejected her and her mom was horrible. And very abusive to mae. I felt so sad for her. But thank god for her grandma and grandpa for they showed her what love truly was like. She and her family escaped to South Korea just before the Korean war broke out. While living in the south she got her education which was Japanese based. And she was able to help support her family. But then she finely was able to fulfill her dream and went to college in America. Before she left she met a Us Marine and fell in love. They corresponded with him and kept a relationship with the Colonel for three years and then eventually they married. This story is nothing short of an inspiration. Now before I ruin this for you I will leave off here. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. If you do like this book, please consider leaving a review. The Authors really like it when you do; they value your opinions too.

Kimmie Sue's Book Review & More

Amazon Reader

Wonderful book full of heartbreak and triumphs.

Precious Silver Chopsticks: A True Story is a Korean Nobel Family by Mae Adams, is a truly fascinating book. It is the story of Mae from her life as a child in Korea, as the second daughter she was rejected by her father and abused by her mother, she found love with her grandmother and grandfather. In the wake of WWII, Maes family escaped North Korea shortly before the Korean War broke out. Growing up in South Korea, Mae received a Japanese based education, and was able to support her family as needed before she was able to fulfill her dream and attend college in America. Before she left for college Mae met her future husband, who was a US Marine Colonel, they were able to maintain their relationship while she was away for school for three years and eventually married. Maes story is truly a rising from the ashes story. She went from aristocracy to refugee to successfully married with children and a career of her own. The story is nothing short of an inspiration.


Amazon Reader

Touching reading

Precious Silver Chopsticks by Mae Adams it is a book about the history of the author’s life since she was born in North Korea in 1933 to these days. The story is a heartbreaking story in many ways, because she wasn’t lucky during her childhood, she was rejected by her parents and sent to live with a step-grandmother that was not part of the aristocracy, but then, there she was lucky because she learned a lot of things that will help her through her life. Then she lived the second World War, that was a devastating experience, as for anyone that has lived a war, and then she moved to America where she found herself growing up in all aspects, she studied, she got married, had children and find love and peace that brings her to the fruition of herself as a women and a human being. Her most precious possession, her silver chopsticks followed her forever in her heart.


Amazon Reader

Reaches into your heart and soul

Author Mae Adams is an inspiring woman, and with her book, Precious Silver Chopsticks: A True Story of a Korean Noble Family, she shares with us the true story of her life. Mae lived a life that is both heartrending and uplifting, tragic and miraculous. From her birth into a cold, unloving Korean nobel family, to her upbringing by her gracious, affectionate step-grandparents, through an oppressive education, life threatening war, and finally, to a college education in the U.S, a long and happy marriage to a man she loved with her entire heart. Each page of this book is filled with emotion and truth. Not all truths are easy to tell, and often, they are not easy to hear either. But with this book, Mae Adams not only allows us to look into her life, but encourages us to take a good look at our own.

Catherine Grainger

Amazon Reader

I do recommend this book to anyone.

I just can not deny that I had a great time while reading this! I have always been interested in cultures in general, I have always wanted to know each culture on my own and this book gave me a look at North Korean culture for sure so, it is not bad to say that this book caught my attention since the very first time I read its title. Here we got the story of Mae from her life as a child until her life as an adult. First, I would like to say that the author did a great job when it comes to the development of this story, I liked the fact of the author mixing her biography with history I think she found the perfect balance for that which made the book enjoyable for me. Secondly, her story teaches you to be strong and to rise from the aches which are good messages for people nowadays and always. I do recommend this book to anyone.

Margot Guadalupe

Amazon Reader

Beautifully written biography of an incredible life

Precious Silver Chopsticks is an incredibly heartbreaking and uplifting story of a young girl outcast from her Korean Nobel family, becoming a refugee of war, and eventually finding her own happiness miles away from where she began her life. Mae Adams is an incredibly talented writer with a life that has been beyond eventful. Her experience with different cultures, constantly changing social and economic status, and the people she met along the way who sheltered and assisted her is incredible. It is an incredibly emotional read with so many heartbreaking experiences, making it that much more of a powerful reflection that she could come through all of it with such a beautifully peaceful attitude. One of the best biographies I have ever read. She lived a life truly worth sharing.

Corrie M

Amazon Reader

Fantastic memoir that reads like fiction

Readers who enjoy biographies and history are sure to love this story. Anyone who enjoys reading about triumph through adversity will also like this tale. Very well written and edited; although the forward mentions that English is Mae's 4th language, there is no evidence of that here. While this is a memoir, it is anything but a dry tale of a life. The story reads like fiction and is captivating and page turning. Well worth the investment and time to read about a historical period from a perspective that most Americans don't have - Korea before the Korean war, from both the upper and lower castes of that society. From the Japanese occupation to the war and its consequences and beyond, Mae's life experiences shed light on the Korean society.


Amazon Reader

Fascinating cultural tale

I do not know much about Korean culture and found this a fascinating memoir. the author describes her Japanese-style education (everything Japanese being highly prized in Korea at this time), and her adjustment into Korean culture. This is a story of a rejected daughter and reminded me very much of the young adult classic, 'Chinese Cinderella', by Adeline Yen Mah. Both books bring tears to your eyes about the cruelty of some parents towwards their own children. Mae Adams lived through the horrors of Korean War and lived as a refugee before fleeing to America. The chronicle of a varied life - well worth reading.

Chelsey McQuitty

Amazon Reader

Precious Silver Chopsticks..

Incredible story about life in Korea during the Japanese occupation, the division of the Korean peninsula and the Korean War. Courage, family conflict, amid cultural flux, Mae's story is amazing.

Harry Hafer

Amazon Reader

True story of survival during the Korean war.

This book was very informative and educational since I knew very little about the Korean culture. She made it interesting in every way. Great story and written with spunk. Would in deed make a great documentary/movie. What a strong woman.


Amazon Reader

A compelling and uplifting life story..

A very pleasant read and an engaging story. Mae Adams tells her story with skill and pride, pride in a life well lived against incredible odds. I found Ms. Adam's book compelling and uplifting.

David W.

Amazon Reader

I enjoyed reading the book

I enjoyed reading the book. In addition, I learned quite a few Korean traditions. Her upbringing really concerned me but fortunately she had a wonderful grandmother. Also so pleased to learn that she met a wonderful man who became her husband.


Amazon Reader

Loved, loved, LOVED this book!

This true life story of Mae Adams is a fascinating read about how Korean culture and history affected the life of this “second daughter”.Ultimately, it is the tale of how the love and nurturing of her grandparents, and extended family, proved to be even more precious then the precious silver chopsticks. I chose this as the book to be read by my bookclub! We were honored that the author came to share the meeting with us!

Carol Henderson

Amazon Reader

What A Fine Book!

I read the book. It is my favorite of all books. It is so full of history, humor, and knowing ones feelings that it is truly amazing. What an unexpected ending to a wonderful story. Mae, thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts in such a wonderful book.

Linda Crochet

Amazon Reader

Fascinating Read!

This is a fascinating read about an extraordinary woman. Mae shares her life's story, from her affluent childhood in North Korea to her wartime struggle to escape to South Korea, to her postwar ingenuity that helps her not only to survive but to prosper as a savvy businesswoman. Experience the Korean culture as never before in this must-read memoir.


Amazon Reader

Loved it!

This book was delightful to read. It gave me an insight into the Korean mindset, and the numerous traditions and customs that make Koreans special, and resilient. Thank you HaeSoo K for sharing the book with me. Loved it!!!

Maria Linz

Amazon Reader