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..
This book follows the lives of several NK defectors to China and South Korea. Their stories cover their lives back in NK, what drove them to defect, how they defected, who helped them, and their struggles adjusting to the free world. Fascinating perspectives into how NK mistreats their population.
The narration is OK. She needs to show a little more emotion, especially considering the topic.
I think I would rather read the book, having listened to the narration.
I really don't have an answer for this. I did not care for the narration.
The narrator had very strange voice modulations and emphasized words strangely. There was perhaps too much emphasis put on the pronunciations of the Korean words. It was like listening to Siri read, with that choppy, slightly monotone manner than computerized speech has.
I was fascinated by the descriptions of the faith that people had in the North Korean regime to take care of their needs and their unquestioning loyalty to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Terrifying.
If vocal quality and narration style is something you really care about, you might want to just read the print version.
Please do not stop listening to this book if you are put off by the narrator's unusual style or when listening to the "sample". What is in the book overshadows that aspect and in fact as I look back, it "fits" and compliments the realism of the story of a different culture and would have not been as powerful if it had been narrated in a more theatrical dialogue that we are used to hearing. I was amazed that during this time, we in the US had so little understanding of the magnitude of the problems in North Korea. This book gives a valuable insight into the culture of North Korea and helps understand the issues in the present day North Korea.
As I said above, the narrative style of Karen when reading the book at first seemed a bit flat and lacking but did suit the characters, time and story. As I said, I had a hard time with it at first but this faded away and seems to fit the story.
No - I have not
There were so many. The revelations about what the world was like for North Koreans seemed as if I was transported to 200+ years earlier. Hard to fathom that this was happening at the same time where we in the US were using smartphones, WiFi and high speed internet.
Highly recommend this book.
I held off on reading this for a while as I thought it would be "personal stories" which would not be interesting. I was very wrong - this ordinary Koreans are anything but ordinary! If you want to learn more about N. Korea this is the book for you. Outstanding.
This is a wonderful look at how ordinary people functioned in North Korea both in times of plenty and in crisis.
If you are interested in the millions of people suffering in North Korea, this is a very informative and personalized look at individual lives in a nightmarish reality. It is beautifully written and narrated and allows us to see life in North Korea on a personalized, individual level. We need to pray constantly for these people and their day by day suffering.
I liked that the book followed not only the actions and explained what day to day life is like in North Korea but also the mindset, growing feelings, thoughts and rationalizations as they creeped into the lives of the people in the book. I could see, smell and truly visualize what it must be like to live in North Korea.
I haven't heard Karen White before, I don't think. She takes getting used to. I wasn't a fan at the beginning of the book but by the end, I felt her halting, pausing style fit with the nature and mood of the book.
I was in a high demand religious group (aka "cult") for about 10 years and totally related to the reverence required, the inability to question authority, spying of fellow members and many other aspects of the lives of these people. I related to the few who admitted they would consider going back and missed aspects of life in North Korea. I'll never go back and was never doubtful about my choice to leave the group, but I could see how someone raised in that culture could be very insecure with the ability to make your own choices and the responsibility that comes with the freedom to make those choices.
This book was very enlightening, heartbreaking and an excellent glimpse into lives of people so difficult to know anything about.