Pure decades long group dying. One year there is food and yet again no food for two. This is watching others leave or the conversations held as loved ones encourage you to eat weeds. Or dig for tiny snails and try to dig out the speck.
But the story is told in such a way that the hunger is always accompanied by the integrity of the person who is suffering it. And what happens to humans who are dying and yet trying to live under these limited choices is not told gratuitously but in heroic, and usually positive looking honesty. Empathy doesn't alter horrific situations, it just makes us "aware" that they exist and we can sympathize with the sufferers.
As if the awareness changes a system so far away from us or the current particulars, as this N. In this particular situation individual actions made the entire difference for Joseph. And in several cases there was no "empathy" taken or expressed by those individuals for large proportions of the process either.
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And a few people on the way held rejection with the information to escape. What mattered was the action that followed. Oliver Twist or David Copperfield experienced day trips to the urban zoo in comparison to Joseph's tale. The hair on my arms was raised when he wrote of being more terrified upon the anarchy than demoralized by the physical suffering. That feeling when you see people acting in groups of mobs where there is absolutely no one or entity in control over long periods of time.
That he can speak of it so bluntly was awe inspiring to me. It's similar to being in war zones?
Maybe worse, because there is no "side" or compatriot. Not just for a day or a week, but for months on end. He was smuggled through by a Christian church pathway. This I very much understand. He still feels such deep sorrow over his losing knowledge of what has happened to his older sister. She was sold as a "China" bride and lost to him and he prays he can find her someday.
If she is still alive. This book relates much about the North Korean culture, especially in marriage and funeral, or child to ancestor obligation and honor particulars. Joseph made me laugh out loud more than a few times. I do not think I know any male of any teen age or above age that loses their pants with a 27 inch waistband because they are too big.
Nor an adult male who is trying to get all the way up to 30 inch waist size pants. The smile on the back cover is priceless. Watch out NY girls! Apr 11, Dawn rated it liked it.
Despite the detailed horrors of starvation, violence, loss and betrayal the author expresses in "Under the Same Sky," I never felt the story to be completely without hope or heart. There are times I felt guilty for enjoying the book, because the author, Kim, really lives through some truly dark and unbelievably awful years. His constant hunger and struggle to survive, and not only survive but connect with another human being who won't leave or betray him somehow, is written in a genuine and appe Despite the detailed horrors of starvation, violence, loss and betrayal the author expresses in "Under the Same Sky," I never felt the story to be completely without hope or heart.
His constant hunger and struggle to survive, and not only survive but connect with another human being who won't leave or betray him somehow, is written in a genuine and appealing voice.
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Kim also does a good job of bringing in and giving life to the good things in his life even when the threat of starvation clung to him and everyone around him. Kim's sister, Bong-Sook, is a bright star and I really loved her and it's plain how much Kim realizes over time how good she's been to him and that he loves her, too.
Kim's father is also a positive influence on him and there are just as many other good people who help him, as there are people who refuse to help or prove to be cruel to him. It's a well-balanced book I also like how the author tries to look at both sides of a story, to try and understand there are sometimes reasons behind bad behavior, not to excuse the bad behavior, but he does try to give people the benefit of the doubt when he can about a boy who beats the odds and survives to become a man who's not doomed by the hardships he endured in North Korea, but is instead a man with hope, education, friends, dreams, and a future in America.
Inspiring, easy to understand, and honest in a personal way that draws readers in and doesn't let them go until the last page. Nov 05, Jessica rated it it was amazing Shelves: I've read a few stories about North Korea, but Joseph Kim's is the one that certainly moved me the most so far. It's beautiful, heart breaking, and inspiring. It's a clear story with memories, and dates that I found myself identifying with. This little boy's struggle to understand a world that was collapsing around him, losing his father, and the never knowing of what has happened to his sister and mother.
There are several reasons, I loved this book. It's written by a contemporary. A person of m I've read a few stories about North Korea, but Joseph Kim's is the one that certainly moved me the most so far. A person of my generation, and near my age. To think that this was happening to him thousands of miles away in North Korea while I enjoyed my merry carefree life here in America, in someways, it haunts me, but even with it's haunting story and yet, it is filled with hope.
This is a book I want to purchase for everyone on my Christmas list to read, to understand and comprehend. May 31, Jill rated it really liked it. Kim's story is horrifying. It's different from many of the other stories of DPRK defectors I've read in that Kim was pretty much a child when he escaped North Korea and was motivated to leave first and foremost by starvation. The epilogue was heart-wrenching and the acknowledgements even more so. Kim's perspective is that of a child fighting to live homeless, starving, and without family in the DPRK; there are more comprehensive accounts of life in North Korea, but this personal, sad story of a Kim's story is horrifying.
Kim's perspective is that of a child fighting to live homeless, starving, and without family in the DPRK; there are more comprehensive accounts of life in North Korea, but this personal, sad story of a young boy's struggle to stay alive is definitely worth a read.
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May 28, Anne rated it really liked it. This North Korean refugee memoir ends on a much more hopeful note than the first one I read, so for that reason alone, I would recommend this one for anyone interested in the topic. Be warned, though, that the hope is a long time coming. I could only read a couple chapters at a time in certain portions of the book.
Jan 22, Dalia Hosam rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read "the girl with seven names" before this book and from that book I learned a lot about North Korea, so I felt like I already knew most of the information in the book. I still learned a lot especially since the authors had different lives and the author of this book was alone and had to resort to begging during the famine.
However, the author of the girl with seven names faced many difficulties in China and those parts were an interesting rea 3. However, the author of the girl with seven names faced many difficulties in China and those parts were an interesting read. I did get bored at the end of it and read the chapters quickly. The saddest parts are when he talks about his sister, I really hoped he would find her but there was no mention of that and I could not find out if he found her later on or not.
It was also terrible when he lived off of stealing especially by breaking into homes, it was a difficult time for everyone and the family in the home might have gone through a lot to get the food that he stole with his association. I do understand that he was young and trying to survive but it's just a thought. I liked the book but I was not as interested in it as the girl with seven names, it might be because I learned a lot from the first one so lost some interest in this book. I do recommend reading it. I wanted to know how life would be for someone in North Korea who was less fortunate so I read this book.
I did sometimes feel like it could have been shorter. Aug 24, Daniel rated it really liked it. It has particular resonance for South Koreans because those are our people, Dang. It has particular resonance for South Koreans because those are our people, our siblings, our cousins. Apr 06, Jen rated it it was amazing. My favorite NK book thus far.
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I do hope Joseph finds his sister one day Aug 07, Caitlin rated it really liked it. Joseph Kwang Jin Kim's recounting of his early life in North Korea is a poignant reminder not to forget those in need.
It is not a light read, as young Kim faced numerous brutal events and chronic starvation from the years of famine. But this is a story that every caring person should know about. It is also a good read for Americans because it will provide insight into how North Korean refugees may view them and their culture. Overall, it was a beautifully written and emotionally moving biogra Joseph Kwang Jin Kim's recounting of his early life in North Korea is a poignant reminder not to forget those in need.
It shows the way that animals across the world can have the same interests, hopes and dreams, allowing young readers to reflect on the community of our united world.
A Better Life by Chris Weitz. Premios Tu Mundo . Premios Tu Mundo for Novela of the Year.