Book Review: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Title: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
Author: Barbara Demick
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Anyone who has any interest at all in North Korea should read this Nothing to Envybook. I found myself enthralled in this book from beginning to end. I’ve read quite a few books about North Korean defectors now, and I think this is probably my favourite so far. Something that sets it apart from the others is its focus on actual life in North Korea. The others I’ve read so far seem to focus a lot more on the harrowing journey between North Korea and South Korea. That’s an interesting and compelling story too, of course, but I’ve always been most curious about what actually goes on inside that closed off and mysterious place.

In this book, the author has cleverly woven together the stories of six normal North Koreans.  There is something for everyone: history, love stories, family bonds, death, adversity. Well, OK, maybe not everyone – if you’re looking for something light and carefree, then this is probably not the book and indeed not the subject matter for you.

Anyway, I really don’t want to give away too much of the individual stories that play out in this book. Go and read it. You won’t regret it.