Meg - A Bookish Affair's Reviews > The Orphan Master's Son

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
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's review
Jan 16, 12

bookshelves: 2012, asia, fiction
Read in January, 2012

I was really, really excited to score a copy of this book through Random House's Early Reads program. With Kim Jong Il just passing away, I've gotten very interested in reading more about the super secretive country of North Korea so this book really could not have made its way to me at a better time.

And what a way to kick-off my 2012 reading! The book is a little slow in the beginning but it picks up really quickly after about 100 pages or so (the first section is mostly about the protagonist, Jun Do's background, which is not all that connected to the real meat of the story). After that point, the book really picks up and doesn't let go until the final page. Jun Do is right in the midst of North Korean society and politics. He struggles with his own feelings of support and love for his country and the teeniest feeling that he isn't doing what he should be doing but making decisions on what you want to do is not really allowed for those in Jun Do's position.

His story is definitely interesting but I was way interested in how the book looked at North Korean society. The author uses radio addresses to the North Korean citizens (of which there are apparently a lot of) to introduce the different chapters throughout the book. Those were fascinating!

One thing I found myself wondering is how closely the author was able to capture what actually goes on in the country as the country really is quite secretive. I'd love to know what his research process was.

Bottom line: This is a good, solid read about a very interesting place!
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