The story of Park Jun Do, the son of a man who runs a work camp for orphans in North Korea, is remarkable in its telling. It’s apparent from the beginning that the author did extensive research. The characters all seemed very authentic. I was amazed at the author’s ability to capture the essence of a country that is as secretive and closed off as North Korea. The writing was superb and the storytelling was engrossing. I could not put this book down. Nevertheless, it should be noted that this book is not for the faint of heart. The author does not spare the reader stories of violence, torture, starvation and cruelty. It is often disturbing and gut-wrenching. Also, there is some salty language. It all made sense in the context of the book, but some images are hard to erase and continue to haunt me. The knowledge that atrocities and suffering continue makes the story of Park Jun Do all the more unsettling. Even so,despite the oppression and inhumanity, there is also love, friendship and self-sacrifice. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book wins awards because it has broken new ground and put a face to those who suffered under the leadership of an oppressive tyrant. The story of Park Jun Do’s journey from boy to man is filled with a myriad of experiences and ultimately an outrageous deception. If you can stomach the darkness and want to get a real feeling for life in one of the most oppressive countries in the world, I highly recommend this book. It will disturb you, but it will also enlighten you. This book is an amazing literary achievement.
In compliance with FTC guidelines, please note that I received this book for free through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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