My Escape from North Korea
A simply told memoir about a young woman whose family was starving in North Korea. Her grandparents and father died during a famine, and she literally though she would also starve in their apartment. No food in the city. With her mother and sister, she made several attempts to cross the border into China, then make a difficult journey to South Korea where she hoped to live in freedom. They had to pay enormous sums to smugglers, suffered at the hands of human traffickers in China, and when finally reaching South Korea spent months in detainment as the government interrogated everyone to ensure they weren\’t spies, then gave them lessons on assimilating into South Korean society and how to live in a capitalist system. Eunsun Kim tells how she nearly died of hunger, was forced as a child to watch public executions, and only gradually realized afterwards that she\’d been brainwashed in her homeland, that life was really different elsewhere and the regime in power oppressed the common people. She relates how the trials of attempting to leave North Korea strained her family, and how desperate she felt to reunite with her sister who initially stayed behind in China. How confusing living in a new country with a totally different system was, let alone having to learn a new language. I have nothing but admiration for someone who went through such hard times, and kept trying again even when their first attempt failed, when they barely had any energy, when they had to wait months or even a year for the next step in their journey. And yet the book left me rather unmoved. Whether the plain writing style, or the fact that it\’s not only co-authored but also translated, it just wasn\’t very engaging and lacked depth. However there\’s others on my TBR list now about the same subject: The Girl with Seven Names, Nothing to Envy, In Order to Live or Under the Same Sky.