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Patrick Foley

Patrick Foley

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The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Rating: 4/5 Devils

Genre: Fiction/adventure/romance

Wandering around the library one chilly Sunday afternoon, looking for a good book to read, a large book with a big red tiger and white background catches my eye. The simple black writing and red tiger make me think of my Asian heritage. Once I open up the cover and find out the story takes place in North Korea, a topic that has always interested me, I was hooked.

This book, The Orphan Master’s Son follows the story of Pak Jun Do, a North Korean boy who has to navigate his way through the treacherous waters of North Korean society to try and stay alive. For a full summary click here.

What was it that hooked me? I believe that it was the fact that this book was set in North Korea. The secrecy of the country really makes you feel like you are in another world. I also liked the way Johnson created a lot of pathos for the North Korean people. You realize the fear that touches their lives every day and the lengths they go to in order to survive. And, while it is important to keep in mind the fact that all this is just an idea of what it would be like to live in North Korea, Johnson did a wonderful job of making it believable.

One other unique aspect of the book was the way it changed points of view. On one hand, this kept you interested, but on the other, it made it redundant and more difficult to follow. In the end though, I believe the advantages of this outweighed the disadvantages.

In short, I would describe this book as a compelling story of survival, identity, freedom, and love in an insanely oppressed country, and I think that this book is great for anyone who enjoys that genre who is interested in North Korea. Beware though; it is a dark story with many sad conclusions.

An interview with the authorfind out more behind the idea for the novel

If you are interested in reading this book, you can find this book at Hinsdale Public Library or Barnes and Noble.

I would like to end by saying that I’ve decided to participate in the Book Marathon; so I will keep you updated on my status with that. This is book number one.

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