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

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jan 22, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: history, political, non-fiction, travel

What a fascinating read! I'd recently watched a documentary on Netflix about the plight of North Koreans and the "underground railroad" that exists to help them escape in to Mongolia, China or South Korea. It upset me to see how defectors were often caught by foreign police and sent back to NK, only to work and die in labor camps, or to be executed.

In reading this book I was BLOWN AWAY by how horrible the conditions are in NK and how there isn't much they can do about it. Since the breakdown of the country in the early 90's hundreds of thousands have starved to death. Now 2/3 of the country survive by picking, chopping, and eating weeds from the forest. Even basic things like underwear are priceless in NK because of how rare they are. I was saddened in reading this book by what the populace is forced to undergo on a daily basis and how brainwashed they have been to not know there is a better way.

This story came alive with the accounts of several defectors that Demick has spent time with in South Korea. The writing was engaging, the pacing kept me intrigued, and the summary at the end of the book was crucial. A tough read to get through but important in terms of current human rights issues.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Nothing to Envy.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.