Narration of Love at 17, Vol. 1-4
written by Kyungok Kang
It happens on the very first page. Seventeen-year-old Seyoung gathers up all her nerve and admits her feelings to the boy she likes. She looks tortured, emotional, and terrified, but she gets it out.
A few moments pass. The boy tries to come up with something to say. He struggles to do so. Then he starts laughing.
Thus begins Narration of Love at 17, which shows love in its many levels of teenage angst and awkwardness.
Because Seyoung had joined the school drama club, the boy assumes she’s just showing off her acting prowess. He laughs about how good she’s gotten and how he almost fell for it. Seyoung’s hopes are completely dashed. If he doesn’t believe her, what’s she supposed to do now?
It takes her some time to get over him, and she does begin to notice an upperclassman. He just happens to be the captain of the drama club. At the same time, however, she’s bitterly envious of Hyemi, who’s a professional actress as well as a schoolmate. Hyemi is talented, beautiful, and popular, making Seyoung seethe in her loneliness. Seyoung bemoans the fact she doesn’t even have a best friend, and at home she has to deal with her mother picking on her. For a time, she contemplates being single forever, thinking it might be best, albeit her loneliness and interest in boys often get her questioning herself.
Narration of Love at 17 is a melancholy and pensive read. Seyoung is very sensitive and emotional, and so is this manhwa. Its rating is “All Ages” because of its lack of violence or sexual implications, so it can also easily fit in the hands of younger readers. However, all the teenage pain will ring the most true for teenagers, so they’ll probably be the main readers. Every little thing can seem painful to Seyoung, but that just goes to show that being a teenager is hard. This could be an ideal series to have in high-school libraries.
Slowly but surely, Seyoung does gain some confidence in herself. Her acting improves and she actually gets a small part on a television show. She does some modeling work. She’s cast as the Fox in the school production of The Little Prince and finds meaning in the book by Antoine de Saint Exupéry. She even gets a best friend and realizes she just might be able to have luck with boys.
At four volumes, this isn’t an especially long manhwa. Things don’t all get magically solved by the end, but Seyoung does acquire a somewhat brighter look on life. In terms of how it looks, Kang has a nice style of art, particularly when drawing her male characters. The manhwa-ga even makes a few cameos in the books, stating her own opinion if it contradicts something a character said. She’s put a lot of heart and emotion into these volumes, something readers can appreciate.