Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee, Susan Elizabeth McClellan is the first book I’ve read about North Korea. The author’s voice is genuine and emotional as it relates to the personal story of his adolescent years in North Korea during the 1990’s. It is about a young man’s awakening from naive child who believes his country is perfectly fine to realizing that not all people are treated equally. This is a memoir. The reader learns what it’s truly like to grow up in North Korea
The most fascinating thing about North Korea and this memoir is the way the cult of personality works. It is deeply ingrained that Kim Jong-un is an almost magical being, someone to be revered, a perfect specimen of humanity leading the best country on Earth. It is actually illegal to mishandle any images of the Supreme Leader, never mind speak out against the regime.
Sungju Lee recounts his childhood through the 1990’s famine. He begins in Pyongyang, a naive child with blind faith in his leader. This later changes as his family is forced to move to a poorer area of the country where the locals are starving and executions happen regularly. The reader learns about the complete lack of awareness that is characteristic of the more fortunate North Koreans. This is especially children. Their belief is that everyone is provided for and no one goes hungry.
This book is every eye-opening and terrifying.
I received this book from ABRAMS Kids and Amulet Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.