Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: September 13th, 2016
Genre: Memoir, YA
This was a flawed but interesting read. North Korea, as put by the author, is a real life dystopian. Sungju Lee provides a fascinating experience as he becomes disillusionment with the North Korean society when his family moves from the nation’s capital among society’s elite. It’s a shocking tale for both reader and writer alike as he goes from assuming everyone in Korea is well-fed and taken care of to becoming homeless and starving, where every day becomes a fight to obtain even life’s most basic necessities.
This book made me want to learn more about North Korea. I didn’t realize that Kim Jong-un was basically regarded as a deity or just how badly disparaged society is there. I don’t even know if you can travel to Korea from the US or if it is embargoed like Cuba.
On the flip side though, I did find the title and initial summary a bit misleading. It led me to assumed that the story would include more details on the actual escape from North Korea to China. And the presentation at times made me question the writer’s credibility. I have no doubt that while it is an accurate depiction in general, there seemed to be an awful lot of minute detail for every aspect of the book to have actually happened. I doubt, especially when living in such destitute conditions, that the author can recall all these small events and conversations as perfectly as is presented. Those were my two issues with the book from a critical standpoint.
Overall though, a harrowing and thought-provoking read that will increase your appreciation for the blessings in your life.