UNDER THE SAME SKY by Joseph Kim
What a harrowing tale Joseph tells in this, his story from early childhood in North Korea to young manhood in America.
His father is a mid-level party worker and his family is comfortable in the 1980’s. Kim, his father, mother and sister, Bong Sook, live with electricity, a TV and plenty of food and snacks. Then the famine in North Korea takes all of that away. His father and mother lose their jobs, then their furniture, TV and even clothing in order to eat. Eventually they lose their home and are dependent upon their extended family for a roof and food. Finally they have exhausted all options. Kim’s mother sells his sister in South Korea, and disappears. Joseph is left on his own as a young boy. The book details the heartrending life he leads as a homeless youth, descending into theft, lies and violence to survive. Written in simple, but graphic terms, he tells how he ultimately loses all hope and faith in communism and North Korea. He sneaks into South Korea at great risk, becoming a refugee from one the world’s most repressive regimes.
The book’s subtitle, FROM STARVATION IN NORTH KOREA TO SALVATION IN AMERICA, gives the story of his life in one sentence. This is a book that will not leave you for many months. You will learn about life in North Korea when things go well and how quickly plenty can turn to extreme want when a government is oblivious to the needs of the citizens – and how citizens continue to defend and love their country long after the country has abandoned them.
5 of 5 stars