Review: The Story of Lee Vol 1 by Sean Michael Wilson and Chie Kutsuwada


Title: The Story of Lee Vol 1

Author: Sean Michael Wilson

Illustrator: Chie Kutsuwada

Publisher: NBM

ISBN: 978-1561635948


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Lee, living in Hong Kong, meets Matt, a fine young Englishman. Their relationship becomes stronger by the day, despite their deep cultural differences. But there is Lee’s Dad to contend with who views this affair very suspiciously. And there is another contender for Lee’s heart, a Chinese young man, whose jealousy takes on twinges of xenophobia. Will Lee and Matt’s relationship successfully cross the cultural divide and overcome the negative odds? Two worlds collide creating good sparks… and bad ones.


I enjoy stories about family dynamics.  I love the clash of personalities between parents and their children, or between siblings, as everyone struggles to find a place for themselves within the framework and expectations of their family.  I was excited to receive a review copy of The Story of Lee, but I have mixed feelings after reading it.   The conflict resolution between Lee and her father was too easily won, and the romance between Lee and Matt had no chemistry.  There were no sparks flying, and their misunderstandings were smoothed over too easily as well.  I never felt emotionally involved in Lee’s quest to discover herself.

I did like Lee.  She has dreams, and she’s not going to give them up.  Not for anybody.  If this means dropping out of college and aimlessly working at her father’s store in Hong Kong, then so be it.  She doesn’t want to be a dentist!  Her demanding father wants her to be a dentist.  Lee’s father is strict and critical of every little thing she does.  She’s too bold for a girl, she’s disrespectful, and she listens to her music too loudly.  What is wrong with the girl?  Poor Lee!  Even if she had been perfect, she still wouldn’t have measured up in her father’s eyes.

When Matt enters her life, it’s like all of the discontentment she’s been feeling comes swirling to the surface.   Matt’s from the UK, the place she most wants to be, he listens to the same music, and he understands her like nobody else.  There are a few cultural issues to work through, but Lee is instantly drawn to him.  Their romance fell flat for me, though, because it lacked tension.  Their cultural misunderstandings were also resolved too quickly to be convincing. 

While I am feeling indifferent to this volume of the series, I am curious to see what happens now that Lee and Matt are changing locations.  How will that effect their relationship?  Can it survive in a different venue, one that now puts some distance between them?

Grade: C+

Review copy provided by publisher

2 thoughts on “Review: The Story of Lee Vol 1 by Sean Michael Wilson and Chie Kutsuwada

  • January 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Its Sean, the writer of THE STORY OFLEE – thanks for the review. I think you almost got the essence of the book and yes in volume 2 we will see the REAL difficulties in the relationship between Matt and Lee come out. Which means that the too easy resolution of any issues between them in volume one was deliberate. For two reasons: firstly because they are in the first flush of romance which often does not reveal the deeper conflict to come, and secondly because i thought it was interesting for the problems between them (like her seeing him with another girl) to be worked out quickly, with direct communication, which does sometimes happen in normal human life. Rather than follow the cliched course of dragging it out over the whole book in an artificial way.

    Anyway, wait until volume 2 – and then you will see plenty trouble between them! Trouble based on the practical side of living together, or cultural missundertanding, of adjustment to living in a new country and the classic human issue of mixing ideals with mundane reality. In fact, a bit of this volume 2 stuff has already come out. In confusing Star Wars fashion BEFORE the vol 1 book came out there was a 25 page scene from vol 2 featured in the collection ‘Best New Manga’ volume 2′.

    Best wishes,

  • January 28, 2011 at 8:01 am

    @Sean – Thanks for commenting! I am very curious to read Vol 2 to see how the relationship progresses. Thanks for sharing the information about the scene in Best New Manga V2, too!

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