I loved the stories in this book. I lived in Estonia for 2 years after the Soviet Union collapsed and was mesmerized by the stories the people told me about life in the Soviet Union. That said these stories weren't as shocking to me as they might be unacquainted with day to day stories of life in a communist country. The exception was the famine. I don't think anyone with a heart could hear about what is happening in North Korea due to lack of food and not be effected. I had a hard time putting this book down and ended up listening to it with any chance I could just to hear these stores.
the frankness of the stories
The performance was mediocre and actually annoying at first. At the beginning of the book the reader uses a very broken staccato like pattern of speech which I found distracting , especially with the breathiness. I don't know if these things were less frequently occurring as the book continued or I just habituated but about a chapter in I wasn't really paying attention to the reader because the stories were so good.
How hard is it to figure out that people don't want to listen to the narrator gulp down every breath? Extremely annoying and distracting.
I have not read the book, but this book is written such that the audio version is not lacking anything the book could provide. moreover the narrator is very good.
The rebellious daughter, you really empathize with her from the moment the character is described.
she did a great job on all of them
when the doctor discovers the bowl of rice and meat on the ground in China and slowly comes to realize that dogs in China eat better than doctors in North Korea
this was a great audio book! it had the right balance of history and personal stories to give you the feeling of being a member of the low class in North Korea and to begin to understand the sociopolitical & economic climate that would create and maintain such a country.
With all that's been in the news about North Korea lately, I thought it time to learn more. This book is, I think, as good of a place to start as any.
The book is about several citizens, mostly in the lower end of the sociopolitical strata. You learn that all of these people are escapees from the regime and though I believe the accounts, you do have to recognize that they represent a unique sample of the society.
That said, Barbara Demick does a great job of telling the stories without embellishing the accounts. My guess is that she realizes that they don't need any added emphasis or passionate vitriol; for most Americans, the situation under the "Dear Leader" is beyond our ability to fully comprehend.
If you ever wonder why the people of North Korea hate us so much, you will get your answer in this narrative. You will also learn, as I did, that the chances are very low that we will see another Libyan or Syrian type uprising in North Korea (we will be dealing with the most unfriendly country imaginable until we or they cease to exist). Finally, you will also learn, as the title explains, just what an ordinary life in North Korea looks like.
Karen White's reading is adequate, but not great. I don't want to tell you what bothered me about her style lest you listen for my complaint. However, if you do find yourself thinking that something about her reading bothers you, keep listening. Either she gets better, you get used to it, or the story becomes so compelling that you don't notice.
This is one of the better nonfiction books that I have listened to. It is more than just a bunch of information that we can put in our brains in the section marked "North Korea". It is a book that connects with me emotionally and makes me want to reach out and know more.
There were many compelling aspects of this story. I'd have to say, though, that I most liked that Demick was able to connect me with more than one character, which is something that I enjoy in Charles Dickens' works.
I loved the character Miran.
Yes, it was.
Pretty high, interesting and a view of life outside of my realm
Listening seemed better, reading might be dry at times
A Korean American co-worker recommended this book and I was shocked throughout it - how could this happen, and continue to happen, to an entire nation (albeit a small one)? In my opinion, it should be required reading in history class and yet another lesson to all on how one egotistical & crazy man can take over an entire nation and bring it down.
enlightening, gripping, sad
I'll listen to this repeatedly to get a better feel for life without freedom or incentive to work hard to improve one's station in life.
I really enjoyed this book. I knew basically nothing about north korea and became completely absorbed in the stories of these people's lives. Wow, what a place.
I listen to approximately 40 hours of audio books a month. I love audio books.
This was a well written book depicting the lives of average North Koreans. These people have truly led incredible yet horrific lives. The North Korean regime is evil on a level that's hardly conceivable to the average North American. I enjoyed this listen very much and agree whole heartedly with the title. I wish with all my heart that better things are to come and soon to the North Korean people.