The book starts out slow but stick with it. The author does an impressive hob in weaving together the stories of those who grew up in N.Korea and defected. Well worth the time!
The author's style of writing makes this book a very enjoyable read. She tied together the stories of several North Koreans along with a history of the country.
We all know governments can do good or make life worse. This book is the definitive proof that: 1) governments can make life infinitely worse, 2) power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, 3) communism eventually just kills a lot of the people it is supposed to be helping, 4) the pursuit of freedom is a stronger force than a dictator for those who will not accept being a slave to the state, and 5) when the chips are down, your family is your greatest strength. An amazing story of small triumphs and huge tragedy. Very sad. It does not reflect well on China. It shows that China continues to have no regard for people, only the state/CPC.
The most important thing to remember about this book is it isn't a political piece. This book is made of stories, and not those of great men, but everyday people. And as such they are average stories, at times happy, sad or shocking, but they are real, and true.
A look into the lives of North Koreans through the eyes of half a dozen defectors with shared experiences. Feel more like objective reporting that story-telling. Leaves you wanting to know more about both the defectors and the country from which they came, and thus makes for an excellent read.
Loved the story, had trouble occasionally keeping track of the characters. At times it appeared that the author either did not understand the cultural significance or did not like the tradition, for instance the description of the soup celebrating the birth of a child. Also, I did not care for the narrator. At times I found the recording difficult to listen to due to the narrator's style..