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Brother One Cell Paperback – February 26, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
My expectations were fully met. I've been interested in Korea for about seven years now, coming here twice as a student, and now living and working here while studying Korean. I've read several books about Korean culture, economy, etc, etc. None of the previous books I have read were able to paint such a vivid and profound picture of the culture I have come to love, in spite of its flaws.
Somehow, by experiencing a side of the country that we rarely hear about, he is able to understand the essence of Korean society and illustrate it in ways that rang true with my own experiences while simultaneously shedding new light on aspects that I still struggle with. In particular, it was interesting reading this book while settling into a job as the only non-Korean full-time employee of a Korean company. Not that prison compares to company life in the least.
This book is good on several levels. Other reviewers have already discussed the merits of the book as a memoir, etc, so I wanted to praise the book specifically as a book that relates to Korea, though perhaps not as many readers will be interested in this aspect of the book. I hope a Korean translation is released, because I think it would be an interesting perspective for Koreans to read about as well.
As for my own reactions to Brother One Cell, I feel that everyone can take something from it. While receiving a prison sentence is obviously no small deal, the appeal of this book is broader than many might assume. Some readers who never had to deal with a jail term may still find that it strikes a chord, have they ever found themselves faced with a prolonged set of difficult circumstances far away from home. The soul-searching that Thomas does, the way he articulates his pain over being kept apart from his loved ones, his insistence on "going it alone" despite his feelings of isolation, and his discussions of the fear of losing himself (on a fundamental and psychological level) are all of universal interest. He talks at length about the internal change that leads him to value the most mundane of acts -- things that he does not have in jail -- such as reading whatever he wants, looking at members of the opposite sex, walking around outside, and so much more.
I feel that there are probably a number of people out there who could relate to the types of emotional and psychological changes explored and documented in this book.Read more ›
The book was so good I didn't want it to end - I tried to make the book last longer, and when it was done I wanted more. It's not "just another prison book", if there is such a category, but it's so reflective and uplifting and hopeful, not just for the incarcerated, but also for anyone who has faced persistent difficulties. Thomas experienced an initiation that he endured with grace. Wonderful!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't understand all the negative reviews.
People are complaining that Cullen Thomas kept whining about Korean culture and his situation in prison, and some reviews... Read more
Living in Korea made parts of the book interesting because I could learn about a workd and things that Is highly secret in Korea. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Emil Lavsen
Exceptionally well written story that provides a number of valuable insights into South Korean culture even today. Read morePublished 6 months ago by GraniteSapper
Wasn't sure if this book was for me, but I am so happy to have read it. It is beautifully and intelligently written. Read morePublished on September 21, 2012 by Diane
Another successful attempt at crowding five pounds of material into a ten pound bag. Entire chapters can be skipped without losing the story thread.Published on April 26, 2012 by surveyor
I picked up _Brother One Cell_ just a few days before a business trip to Korea - it was the best the library had - hoping for "insights into Korean culture. Read morePublished on December 13, 2011 by chungking
Cullen Thomas's memoir, Brother One Cell, is a thriller about an American college graduate, nicknamed the Jolly Marauder, who grew up on Long Island dreaming about pirates,... Read morePublished on September 15, 2011 by Karol Nielsen
I read this book about 10 years after a friend of mine started teaching English in South Korea. In 2000 I went to visit him and met several of his friends who taught English there... Read morePublished on April 10, 2011 by Ed