nothing to envy-book review
Book Reviews

Nothing to Envy-Book Review

Nothing to Envy-Book Review

Book: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Author: Barbara Demick

Genre: Non-fiction

My rating: 5/5

Plot Summary:

Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life.

Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them.


WOW! This book was definitely a reality check! I have paused many times to mull over the situation, to try to imagine the situation.I have been thankful the entire time i was reading the book, to have not been born in Korea.
Even today, a country like this exists is very hard to believe.
In fact I went picture searching, after I finished the book and entered a rabbit hole of never ending pictures.
The effort that the country takes to showcase that it is perfect,is enormous.
But the horrifying part, is the famine, and the ordeal it puts through to the normal people.
The mothers trying to sell everything to get a bite for their child.The women getting up early to pluck grass off the streets to feed the family, is very very hard to fathom.
I was very anxious wondering how they defected, and the difficulties they faced.
Happy to have read that at least, some managed to escape hell.


“It is axiomatic that one death is a tragedy, a thousand is a statistic.”

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