North Korea is much in the news lately, but most of us know very little about this reclusive and isolated nation. It’s difficult to comprehend the level of hardship and suffering its citizens endure, but this book brings it home in a very visceral way.
Library Journal wrote “[i]n this collaboration, refugee Jang and journalist McClelland tell the fascinating story of Jang’s life in North Korea. In childhood, Jang faced social and sexual discrimination. Her first marriage ended because her husband was abusive. Compounding her misery, Jang’s mother and ex-husband sold her infant son, whom she never saw again. Soon thereafter, former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung died and the famine of the 1990s began; in the process Jang became obsessed with the constant search for food. During these years she twice moved to China to secure provisions for her family and was twice caught and imprisoned. Pregnant and incarcerated for the second time, Jang was temporarily released and told she would be re-imprisoned and her child killed after she gave birth. In learning this, her parents arranged to have her and her infant son smuggled out of North Korea permanently. VERDICT: An emotional and engrossing work that sheds light on daily life in this opaque country. Highly recommended for readers interested in North Korea as well as those who enjoy inspirational stories.”