Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review -- Nothing to Envy

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North KoreaNothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book source:  Personal copy
Genre:  Non-fiction
Objectionable material: detailed accounts of death by starvation


I’m voting for Pres. Obama in November.

What does that have to do with a book review?

Not much really, other than after reading Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, I’m grateful that I can vote. For anybody. Period.

Author Demick’s narrative follows the lives of six North Koreans over the span of approximately 15 years – we learn of their education, families, their lives under a totalitarian government, and ultimately, the famine, that claimed nearly 3 million lives (from 1994-1998).

This was a bleak book, but profoundly necessary to read. There is nothing redeeming about living in North Korea. It sucks. But I was amazed that in spite of the deprivation, families were still families who raised children and still wanted the best for them.

Also – the women. I am in awe of North Korean women. In the depths of the famine they were responsible for not only working (nearly 89% of all women “worked”) but they were also responsible for obtaining fuel, food and water (which was nonexistent).

Finally – as we learn the fate of these six individuals (all who defected out of North Korea, which is why we know their story), it’s painful to read how difficult it was to adjust to a free society.

This was great book to read during an election year – because regardless of what side you align yourself with – we are so enormously blessed to live in this country.

I think I’ll go buy some bread now.