Taiwanese entertainment and cultural news was rocked heading into this weekend with news that a beautiful and best-selling first time young author had committed suicide. 26 year old Lin Yi Han hanged herself in her bedroom and was discovered by her husband of two years. Her debut novel Fang Si Chi’s First Love Paradise was just published in February of this year and immediately shot up the best selling charts, currently in its 5th printing. Lin Yi Han was well known even before publishing her novel, coming from a prominent doctor family with her father and brother both physicians, and she scoring perfect on the college entrance exam and getting into Taiwan University’s medical program.
But she dropped out in two weeks and re-enrolled in college as a literature major but leaving in her junior year. Lin Yi Han wrote her debut novel while prepping her for wedding, explaining that she was wracked with pain and depression and had a story she needed to tell. Her parents have gone on record after she passed to say that the debut novel’s 13 year old female student protagonist was in fact Lin Yi Han herself and the story of how she was groomed and sexually abused by a teacher which lead to her mental illness and finally suicide. Everyone, suicide is never the answer so please seek help if ever there are such thoughts. For Lin Yi Han, her intelligence and talent was indisputable and her debut novel garnered raves for her writing and raw emotion, but sadly it was at the expense of her suffering such an awful trauma.
Lin Yi Han’s novel bio reads:
“Out of all my identities, I am most accustomed to my role as a mental illness patient. My dream is to write novels, and like what Kenzaburō Ōe said, advance myself from a mere reader of books, to a person of culture, to an intellectual.”
Her story is why teacher-student romances is inherently problematic for me even when dramas or movies try to explain the inappropriateness away by using specific sets of facts that make that particular relationship less wrong. But for every happy ending student-teacher romance, and right now in the news French presidential candidate Emanuel Macron comes to mind, there are many more like Lin Yi Han where the student ends up emotionally manipulated and traumatized. Lin Yi Han’s story as told in her debut novel is about a young teen girl who is so systematically fed charming words and made to believe that she’s old enough to consent to sex with an adult male because it’s true love and special and unique to her. I feel so bad for the loss of this beautiful writing talent and I hope she is finally at peace.