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I've been reading all sorts of books on North Korea lately, having lived in South Korea. After reading the excellent Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick I downloaded this book. It was read by the author and I had seen the special TV show about Li posing as a doctor in order to get inside information on North Korea.
This book however, is devoid of any interesting facts. Ling is trying to get a taste of her sister's journalism skills and breaks the law by crossing the border illegally. She's caught and then treated fairly well. She whines about some important figure to get her free.
The whole story reads as one big whiny narrative. Luckily for Long, she has enough connections to get Bill Clinton to get her out. Had anyone else snuck into North Korea, no doubt the US government would leave them. Instead we read about a privileged woman doing something illegal and then getting treated very well for a North Korean prisoner.
In an attempt to get published, King then writes the narrative. It is generally devoid of any facts on North Korea. Also, since Ling was caught and brought to prison she doesnt have any inside stories of what North Korea looks like. She can only write about her cell room.
So what you end up with is a story about woman that complains about breaking the law, and seeing a prison room. There ewewas much better books about North Korea with actual facts, research, and inside information. As I mentioned before, Demick's Nothing to Envy, Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden. A Kim Jong Il Production by Paul Fisher and Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea by Jang Jin Sung all offer better narratives from people who actually lived, suffered and escaped North Korea. In comparison, Ling breaks into North Korea, is caught, treated well, and gets privileged people to get her out. Skip this book!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Lisa and Laura recount their experience from both sides of Laura's capture and imprisonment by North Korea in a language that is easy to relate to. The look into the North Korean culture and mindset is accurate - and priceless. We see a part of North Korea that few ever have the opportunity to view through the people that Laura meets - her guards, the translator, etc. The political aspect of freeing a U.S. citizen from North Korea is fascinating, and not bogged down by too many details. I will be listening again!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful