Caitlin's Reviews > Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
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's review
Jan 20, 12

Read in January, 2011

Easily one of the best nonfiction books I've read and an amazing work of journalism. I am extremely interested in all things North Korean so may be biased, but I think even if you had never heard of the place, and picked this up, you'd love this book. By the end, I actually found these stories very moving.
It follows five North koreans through their lives in the North, their growing disillusionment with the regime, their escape and confusing attempts to start life over again in China or the South on their own. Watching people in North Korea as they gradually learn to think for themselves or realise that they can look beyond the confines of what has been presented to them as reality, and that they can summon the courage to leave, was one of the reasons I loved this book. I'd like to think that if I'd grown up there, somehow I would have been one of the rare people who wakes up one day and realises it's all a lie, but reading this, you realise how rare and amazing those people actually are. And how difficult it is for them to start having independent thoughts and decide to leave. Crazy, crazy stuff people!

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