Because This is My First Life and To Room Nineteen

I started watching K-dramas during the pandemic, and first time of my life that I have strong feelings of a K-drama Because this is My First Life (Korean: 이번 생은 처음이라) and the concept of Room 19. It also inspires me of reading this short story To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessing.

In the Novel To Room 19, Susan (the main character), a wife and mother of four, seems to have an ideal marriage and conventional life until his husband’s confess of having an affair. She cannot return back to her normal life, and realizes she needs a room (her own space) for herself. She goes to a rented room in a cheap hotel for some thoughts and no responsibilities every week. That room becomes her place of comfort. She chooses to lie to her husband and agrees to the affair being falsely accused of instead of telling the truth about her Room 19.

In the drama, the female lead Ji-ho is a struggling writer, and books are the narrative backbone of this drama. Ji-ho related To Room 19, and the sexual harassment she encountered in the past is her Room 19. She also finds a way into Se-hee’s (the male lead) Room 19, his ex-girlfriend and her abortion. She feels that they both need to let go of their Room 19.

“Everyone has a Room 19 of their own. No matter how close they are with others, they don’t want them to find out about that room. No matter how comfortable they feel around others, they can’t invite them to that room.” -Ji-ho is my digital platform to Room 19 – a place of freedom.

Further reading:

Literature in The Korean Drama Because This Is My First Life

The Books in ‘Because This Is My First Life’