Customer Review

23 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nail-Biting Memoir with Humanitarian Implications--A Very Important Story, May 19, 2010
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This review is from: Somewhere Inside (Hardcover)
*****
I bought this riveting personal memoir last night and couldn't put it down. It is the story of two incredible sisters, their family bond, and one sister's (Laura's) imprisonment in the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea while her older sister (Lisa) fights to get her free. The story is told in alternating voices, with one short chapter being told by Laura and the next chapter what was happening at the same time for Lisa. The story is told from the women's viewpoints; so not just the the stunning political and legal details of this story are shared, not just the vivid descriptions of the imprisonment, but the feelings and the thoughts of the two women are shared as well. Although this is non-fiction, it reads like a novel and is hard to put down.

In addition, the humanitarian story that is the backdrop for this personal account--the situation of the North Koreans and the refugees who leave--is even more important and unforgettable. Laura and Lisa are journalists who believe that this more important story is vital for us to be concerned about and to act upon. At the time that Laura was being held (last year), North Korea was involved in a global nuclear showdown. North Korea considers itself still at war with both the United States and South Korea. North Korea's role in the world is unique and this book helps the reader to be introduced to their fascinating and repressive culture.

The book details Laura's imprisonment, her "confession" of trying to overthrow the North Korean government, her treatment in North Korea, her trial, how she survived, her sentence, her imminent removal to a hard labor camp, and her rescue by President Clinton. Many, many other people helped with her release as well. The book includes descriptions of much that was experienced by Laura's colleague, Euna, but they were separated for much of the imprisonment, so the telling is strictly from Laura's perspective. The book tells a story that I think would appeal to any reader; this is an important book for everyone to read.

Some things I will not soon forget: the journalists eating their notes so as not to implicate their victimized sources, recipients of an American medical mission thanking a Kim Jong Il portrait for their cures, North Koreans accusing Laura and Lisa Ling of trying to overthrow their government, Laura hitting herself in the bathroom to punish herself, Lisa wanting to involve Michael Jackson (and him wanting to be involved) right before he died, why the North Korean government has so much contempt for Christians, and so much more.

Please read this important story, learn to appreciate even more about our freedom here, and learn how others are suffering in another part of the world.

Highly recommended for all readers.
*****
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 19, 2010 11:28:45 PM PDT
Very well written review.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2010 12:44:13 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 20, 2010 12:45:24 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2010 12:44:18 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 20, 2010 12:45:58 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2010 1:24:52 AM PDT
O. Brown says:
Thank you so very much, Leroy. I told my husband tonight that I was so glad I wrote this review because I hope that it will help to spread the story of the humanitarian crisis in North Korea. I hope that people will buy this book and be touched and moved as I was. Thank you again, O.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2010 9:51:17 PM PDT
J. Kim says:
Why would you hope people "buy" this book instead of just reading it for free? I feel the authors are just capitalizing on a situation they caused that endangered the lives of many and embarrassed our country. What they did was very selfish and have caused NK to further tighten their borders and punish those involved in escaping. You all need to see beyond the picture that is painted by journalists.
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O. Brown "Ms. O. Khannah-Brown"
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Location: Twopeas, WA

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