Elizabeth Smart gets 5 stars and more in my book. Her book whom she coauthored with Chris Stewart only gets 3. I have to think having Chris Stewart on...moreElizabeth Smart gets 5 stars and more in my book. Her book whom she coauthored with Chris Stewart only gets 3. I have to think having Chris Stewart on the team didn't help; I've never cared for his writing style. I've seen interviews with Elizabeth who is very well-spoken and eloquent and kind of expected the same from this book. But that just wasn't the case.
However, that said her story is absolutely remarkable. I remember the day she was kidnapped and followed all the news stories up until the day she was found, another day that stands out vividly in my mind. I wanted to read this book for the details which the public didn't get a lot of when she was found (she simply tells us what happened to her without getting graphic and tells a lot of what she was thinking and why she didn't do some things we as the public expected her to). I have a 14-year-old daughter now and couldn't help but thinking through the whole book, could my daughter endure what this girl did and come out of such tragedy to become the person Elizabeth is today. She only briefly tells at the end how she has been able to rise above her ordeal without any real medication or counseling. And quite simply it has been her faith, her faith in a God who knows her and loves her. Many who are not religious will question why a God would allow such horrific crimes to happen to people, especially children. But she knew that God gave man his agency and cannot stand in the way of that. However, she does detail several experiences she had that left her knowing God knew what she was going through and that he had not left her alone.
Her mother also gave her some advice shortly after her return that was really the start of her healing process. Her mother told her that her captors had taken 9 months of her life that she would never get back and to not let them have one more second of her life. Elizabeth needed to move forward with her life and be happy. That would be the greatest punishment she could give two very evil people.
If you overlook the writing, the story is simply one of the best about survival and rising above the scourge of the earth to become someone extraordinary.(less)
What a great book on such an intimidating topic as missionary work, especially member missionary work. I actually checked this book out because I love...moreWhat a great book on such an intimidating topic as missionary work, especially member missionary work. I actually checked this book out because I loved his book How Will You Measure Your Life? but it sat on my nightstand until it had to go back to the library. I was going to return it on my way out of town and after reading several chapters, decided to keep it, finish it, and pay the late fees. I did not regret that decision. This is a book every Mormon should read who is sincerely wanting to be a better missionary. It gives you ideas to think about, it gives real-life examples of ordinary people who simply opened their mouth to their friends and had amazing results. I read it in 2 days but I would really recommend reading it over time and contemplating some of the ideas and actually putting them to work. This actually got me excited about my own missionary work and left me thinking, "I can do that!"(less)
Let's just say I liked the last half better than the first half. It was a rather silly book and I found myself trying to figure out which Jane Austen...moreLet's just say I liked the last half better than the first half. It was a rather silly book and I found myself trying to figure out which Jane Austen books/movies were all part of the plot because there were several scenes taken from them all. I didn't care for her slang terms in the book. I thought it kind of took away from the whole Regency feel. That said, it only took me two days to finish it.(less)
It was pretty much like every other book I've read of his (suspense, fast-faced, a lot art, foreign places), and as much as I liked his other books, I...moreIt was pretty much like every other book I've read of his (suspense, fast-faced, a lot art, foreign places), and as much as I liked his other books, I really did not like the premise of this one. I thought Dan Brown took a very political stand against families and procreation. I consider myself extremely pro-family and felt that this book was very much against families or at least the rights of every human being to decide for themselves in regard to their own familial life, which is pretty funny to say since it's suppose to just be a suspense book. I think Dan Brown couched his personal opinions very smoothly in this book, and I'm not sure I'll read another one of his.(less)
Michale Wilcox just has a way of opening the scriptures and pulling those little nuggets out that oftentimes I pass right over. This was a book I read...moreMichale Wilcox just has a way of opening the scriptures and pulling those little nuggets out that oftentimes I pass right over. This was a book I read along with my scriptures so I could mark and study further.(less)
Just one of those books where you can take what you want from it and leave the rest. Not everybody organizes the same way or even does it the same yea...moreJust one of those books where you can take what you want from it and leave the rest. Not everybody organizes the same way or even does it the same year to year or day to day. I did like how she mentioned setting a timer for 90 minutes and tackling one of those projects you just keep putting off or even involving the kids in cleaning the house. Everyone knows you're only going to work for 90 minutes and be done. We would often do that as kids in cleaning up the kitchen. She also mentioned taking time off after a major project or holiday just to recoup. Too often I find myself pushing on to the next thing.(less)
I had the opportunity to travel to South Korea in 2009 and desperately wanted to visit the DMZ to see what life was like behind that other "iron curta...moreI had the opportunity to travel to South Korea in 2009 and desperately wanted to visit the DMZ to see what life was like behind that other "iron curtain." Having lived in South Korea for 2 years, my husband persuaded me that it wouldn't be a very smart thing to do at this point especially since North Korea had just launched a missile delaying our flight into South Korea.
Ever since that trip I've been a little bummed we didn't go, so when this book was suggested for our book club, I couldn't have been more excited to get a glimpse into the lives of a North Korean.
It's not a book for everyone. If you have no interest in North Korea or communist countries, you probably will find it a little slow and hard to follow. I, on the other hand, found it fascinating to discover what life it like in a country that has shut out the world.
The irony of the famine during the 1990s was that it created a society where the people began to shun the government, trying desperately to find whatever food they could to survive, often creating black markets and attempting border crossings into China to find food which led to brokers who would helped people leave the country for good. I was amazed that the border between North Korea and China was nothing more than a river that could be waded across and that even North Korean border guards could be bribed with money.
I also felt for the defectors, the ones who actually made it to South Korea, only to be thrust in to a society having no technical or social skills and just wanting to return "home" to North Korea.
I strongly suspect that if the North Korean government had actually accepted food and help from the UN and kept their citizens fed during the famine that it would largely be the same country it had been for 60 years. This book left me with the impression that the country is still very much in the dark, but that the people of North Korea have become more disenchanted and disillusioned with their government.(less)