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Publisher's Summary

At age 23, Cullen Thomas was, like most middle-class kids his age, looking for something meaningful and exciting to do before settling into the 9-to-5 routine. Possessed of a youthful, romantic view of the world, he set off for adventure in Asia and a job teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. But he got more than he ever bargained for when an ill-advised stunt led to a drug-smuggling arrest and a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Brother One Cell is Cullen's memoir of that time - the harrowing and unusual story of a good kid forced to grow up in very unusual circumstances. One of only a handful of foreign inmates, Cullen shared a cell block with human-traffickers, jewel smugglers, murderers, and thieves. Fortunately for him, the strict Confucian social mores that dominated the prison made it almost a safe place, different from the brutal, lawless setting most would imagine. In the relative calm of this environment, Cullen would learn invaluable life lessons and come out of the experience a wise and grounded adult.
With its gritty descriptions of life behind the concrete walls, colorful depictions of his fellow inmates, and acute insights about Korean society, Brother One Cell is part gritty prison story, part cautionary tale, and part insightful travelogue into the places most people never see.
©2007 Cullen Thomas; (P)2007 Books on Tape
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Critic Reviews

"Reflective, often highlighter-worthy prose....Thomas...lyrically describes his Zenlike effort to stay sane through shoe-factory work and prison basketball." (Outside)
"It's an offbeat coming-of-age story, the tale of a wide-eyed, innocent, middle-class American thrust into a world of deprivation and daily trials that speed his passage into adulthood and a deeper understanding of himself and the fallen creatures around him. Told simply, and with extraordinary good humor, it reads like a cross between "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kathleen on 03-25-07

this book could not be better

excellent, well written, well narrated autobiography/diary
mature and original introspection
as well as clear and deep views of other cultures and people
a crisp style which is also compassionate
a remarkable work and a very good audio book
This book could not be better.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Tim on 02-24-12

Not Overacted

As a first generation Korean American, I could somehow relate to this story. Although I have never been in any prison, the author does well at explaining the Korean culture and give a lot of Korean dialogue in the book. Instead of overacting on the narration with unbearable Asian accents, the narrator using his natural voice, tries to speak the foreign dialogue as best as they can. I've listened to many books over the years where the narration of the story ruins the book because they try to portray the characters too much, where you cannot really listen to them any longer.

The base of this story is about an American, going to Korea, getting caught of having weed and being sentence to prison and understanding the culture and life because of it.

The story was okay. I mean, unlike the United States where you pretty much get a slap on the hand for drugs, overseas countries takes narcotics more seriously and maybe that is a lesson to be learned onto itself.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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