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

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
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's review
Mar 01, 2010

really liked it

I'm not surprised that this book painted a picture of a dying society--the slowly boiling frog, as it were.

I AM surprised by how resilient North Koreans seem to be.... Though I'm sure it will chagrin those hoping for a spectacular collapse, they're experts at muddling through. No matter how widespread and deep the dysfunction, people still find a way to make to the next day.

Except for the 2 million who starved to death, of course.

The book profiles six defectors. Some portraits are better-drawn than others. Taken together, they make a nice counterpoint to the usual "look how screwed up these weirdos are!" approach to writing about daily life in the DPRK.


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