Kristin P. (Reston, VA)
A must read
This is a heartbreaking book on a very important topic. While the passages detailing the horrors of human trafficking are graphic at times, the author treats each passage and the characters with respect. He does not sensationalize the issues but rather helps the reader see it from the characters' perspectives. This book is well-suited for a book club-make sure you allow for ample time for discussion-and for students interested in women's studies. While this book is heartbreaking, I became completely engrossed in the story and could not put the book down. It is a truly unique book and beautifully written.
Jacquelyn H. (Blanco, TX)
Intense and Informative
The book All Woman and Springtime is the story of human trafficking concerning innocent young women and brothels. The story begins in a North Korean orphanage where young women in puberty become involved with human traffickers. The story moves from North Korea to South Korea to Seattle, Washington in a fast paced story of abuse and as well as hope for survival. I loved this book from the intense and innocent loyalty to the South Korean "Big Brother" to the loss of innocence, the endurance, desperation, and redemption of the characters. Wonderful.
Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)
One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The story of Gyong-Ho and Il-sun, two North Korean orphans, spans only a few years but encompasses a lifetime of degradation, and abuse but also holds a glimmering of hope. Perhaps a little too realistic at times, definitely for a mature audience, but nonetheless a gripping story which you will long remember.
Margaret L. (Petoskey, MI)
Intensely powerful story
All Women and Springtime is an intensely powerful story about the sex trafficking of young Korean girls and it is explicitly written; so much so that portions of the book were emotionally difficult to read and I found myself skipping over the sexually abusive parts. And yet, the story drew me in and haunted me to continue reading with ever so much hope that there might be a happy ending. This book is certainly not for young readers.
Lani S. (Narberth, PA)
Good first effort
Would I run out to tell someone to read this book? No...but was the author able to maintain a level of tension and spur one on to finish this quick read...Yes! That said, the book was good but with limitations. The beginning dragged with similes that were trite and unnecessary. The cardboard characters were not fully fleshed allowing me to not fully engage and care. Additionally, the abrupt ending wrapped up too quickly to feel a sense of completion.
One aspect I did appreciate was the author's attention to the thoughts and feelings of these sexually trafficked girls leaving N Korea and the ensuing culture shock. In my experience, this disorientation has not been addressed in similar books.
For those not well versed in reading about sexual trafficking, the contents might be graphic but indeed honest, and will open their eyes to this hidden world.
Rebecca R. (Kona & mainland U.S.)
I Think This Will Be Made into a Movie
I felt like I had secretly stepped into North Korea as soon as I started reading, and after 5 chapter, I emailed a few friends to say, "Get this book when it becomes available." With the 2012 real world death of a member of the North Korean 'Dear Leader' family and the YouTube videos showing some suspiciously orchestrated crocodile tears, I feel like this book could lead to some lively book club discussions. Just yesterday (March 12) North and South Korean diplomats punched each other at a U.N. meeting, so to say this book is timely is an understatement.
Generally, I was impressed with the way the plot progressed; excellent characterization of the sad but realistic outcome to women who thought sex would be their ticket out of a bad life. How many young girls think they, like Il-Sun in the book, are special enough to beat the odds? I realized as I read that I always wanted to read just one more chapter to find out what was going to happen.
Since the book involves human trafficking (I don't want this review to be a plot spoiler so I will stop at that), there are some scenes that probably will keep this novel from being recommended for high school reading. That said, I commend author Brandon Jones for presenting the horrors of this situation very realistically without lapsing into extended scenes. The plot moves on quickly from the graphic details, however, and sometimes there were very thought provoking passages, such as having to account for time (in chapter 54) and Mrs. Cha's contemplation in chapter 63: "Old age is the sum of all the small, bad decisions made in the ignorance of youth." (Even though she goes on to be an epic example of Schadenfreude with Daisy.)
Overall, I am so glad that I selected this book! I plan to recommend it to my book club. I made notations of many characters, events, and passages to discuss. Perhaps that's the former English teacher in me - can't read without making notations to facilitate class discussions. I hope Brandon W. Jones has more novels in the works.
Angela S. (Hartland, MI)
All Woman and Springtime
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of North Koreans and also naive trusting girls who are sold into the sex slave industry. The characters were believable and really pull you into the story. This book would be great for people interested in foreign cultures, as it opened my eyes to how people from the isolated country of North Korea live and think. I could not get enough of this book and the characters. My only complaint is that the book had to end!