the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.
I know what you’re all thinking “Ryy read an auto-biography” which i mean ya got me. I hardly ever read auto-biographies but something about this one, I was really interested in the story.
EVERY FALLING STAR written by Sungju Lee follows his time and life trying to escape (and survive) North Korea. Told through a moving backdrop of cultural shock to a lot this book is nothing short of breath taking. Surprisingly, the violence in this novel is not as raw as I think it could have been,some of the moments were changed to protect the identity of those still alive in North Korea.What Sungju does masterfully is that he doesn’t hold any punches. His transparency from his experience to what the reader gets is equal to that of ripping yourself open and handing someone your heart.
One of the biggest themes from the book I think is the structure of privilege and freedoms. It is almost an eye opener to how much people like me have and how much we take it for granted. This book is intense and jaw clinching honest, Sungju has you at the edge of your seats clinging on to the pages hoping for a better tomorrow for him.