on April 8, 2013
I wish we could help them somehow! A VERY interesting read - and currently so relevant (as they point their weapons in our direction...) The author introduces us to several families and we get to know their struggles well. Most shocking: these events occurred while I was growing up safe and snug in Canada and worrying about hairstyles and home decor! The author cleverly weaves their stories seamlessly with the politics of the country and of the rest of the world in recent history - often jolting me to awareness with such recent dates that I only associated with things such as college in the 90's, my first job - all my glorious freedom to worry about stupid things.
At times the book reads like a spy thriller full of danger and betrayal; At other times, like a tragic romance novel. The many details about everyday life and human ingenuity give light to shocking insight into human behavior (read "Life of Pi" before we judge the survival instinct), social structure, abusive government control, and systemic abuse. Difficult to read at times, but SO rewarding (a great book to toss at any discontented teenager for a quick lesson in gratitude for what we have and what we have the responsibility to protect). Makes me want to re-read V. Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning".
And by the way: is anybody going to do anything about this? I thought we cared about human rights...I guess it's too bad there isn't any oil in North Korea or we'd have beaten the Russians there and prevented this whole mess. *despondently rolling my eyes*
on August 31, 2010
I read it in one day and could not put it down. What a great storyteller. It could have been dry like some other books I have read about North Korea but she made all these people come alive and I found myself rooting for these defectors and I do hope that they found happiness in South Korea or elsewhere. I'm only sorry that I read it so fast rather than a little a day to make it last!
Normand Shearer, Waterloo, Québec, Canada
on February 10, 2014
This book covers recent North Korean history in a factual, objective way, and personal stories by North Korean defectors at the same time. It makes the book very readable, and gives some important incites on this very different place called North Korean.
Great for anyone who wants to broaden their horizons and get more familiar with different places in the world.