Brother One Cell: An American Coming of Age in South Korea's Prisons
At age twenty-three 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...more
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Truly heart wrenching at times, I read each chapter with wide eyes and deep breaths as the author tells of coping with serving a 3 1/2 year sentence in a prison 7,000 miles from ...more
It's an interesting look into South Korean culture and prison-life, albeit from a slightly two-dimensional and simplistic viewpoint.
Okay I'll level with you. It's an irritating read. Our protagonist is endlessly brash a ...more
People are complaining that Cullen Thomas kept whining about Korean culture and his situation in prison, and some reviews even had the audacity to judge him and say that he deserved everything he got. About the whining part, he had every right. Koreans living in the USA whine. Canadians living in Colombia whine. People whine. If I wrote a book about Colombia it would be full of whining about all the weird things I hate about it. He was whining because ...more
Another reviewer was understated and accurate: "this is no Peter Hessler doing jail time in Korea." ...more
The book itself is at times an interesting read. It is an opportunity to view life behind bars as it were and the author does a good job ...more
It's one of those memoirs without an index, so I can't quickly refer to useful pages, as I won't do it manually. Hence I don't like it more than just average ...more
This approach might work well for some pursuits, may even be preferred--indeed, I was often amazed by the way Koreans learned crafts and skills, everything from basketball to calligraphy, for example, by methodically studying and reproducing a defined set of steps (a BBC report explained how the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had his minions rigorously study the pizza-making techniques used by Italian chefs so that he could get a good pie at home, even as thousands of his subjects starved)--but foreign-language learning, the actual speaking component most of all, has to be more spontaneous and less rigid.
We all saw this played out before our eyes and quickly discerned the problem. A student cannot hope to sit in a class and have a language handed over to him on sheets of paper.”