Rated of 5
by Shirley D. (Amherst, MA) Brilliantly Written
I didn’t know much about North Korea and I’m not sure I want to know any more. The Orphan Master’s Son is so brilliantly written, I found myself immediately involved in the lives of the of the characters. I’m glad I read it but wish I hadn’t felt so personally involved – no objectivity here. The writing captured me completely and I could read just so much at a time. I am conflicted. I have to say it is a wonderful/awful book and I’ll never in the future hear the words “North Korea” without a personal connection..
Rated of 5
by Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC) The Orphan Master's Son
“Citizens, gather round your loudspeakers …” – what a beginning to an absolutely fascinating story! Imagine having an announcement every morning, in your home, office, any building in the country, giving you the day’s news, recipes, stories, and a constant barrage of propaganda with which to mold your thoughts until there is no individual, just a human extension of the government.
It took a little time getting into the story; there were many characters, who would come and go, some never to be seen again, others popping in with regularity. Once they settled down, or I became accustomed to them, the story began rolling along. Everything is ruled by the government, what your job is, who you will marry, and always, Big Brother watching, listening. Jun Do’s experiences from the time he lived in the orphanage until he transformed into something else so much later on, were interesting, shocking, miserable. The lack of conscience for some of the people comes across loud and clear, while others seem to only be biding their time. At first, I may not have selected this book off the shelf. Now, I’m very glad to have had a chance to read it; not doing so would have been a huge error on my part. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in another culture, the way romance is handled, battles waged, and children raised. Read it and like me, be glad you did.
Rated of 5
by chetyarbrough.com Captain Korea
Adam Johnson's book, "The Orphan Master's Son", tells a tale about the dismal condition of life in North Korea. His fiction is consistent with Barbara Demick's "Nothing to Envy" that is based on interviews of refugees from Kim Jong-Il's totalitarian regime; i.e. Johnson's fictional picture fits descriptions given in the North Korean' interviews.
Johnson tells a story of Pak Jun Do, his survival and advancement in Kim Jon-Il's "Alice in Wonderland" world where cards can be soldiers because the "Mad Hatter" (North Korea's Dear Leader) says it is so. Pak Jun Do's life begins in an orphanage; he becomes a kidnapper of Japanese citizens for the Dear Leader, and later assumes the identity of a general in the Korean army. Pak Jun Do's surrealistic adventure exposes bizarre methods of intimidation, torture, and propaganda that sustain North Korea's existence.
The pace of Johnson's narrative, the clever exposure of North Korea's propagandist methodology, and his references to reported real life incidents (like the kidnapping of Japanese citizens) keep one's interest long enough to complete the book. However, Johnson's story is disjointed with jarring segues in the history of its hero. Johnson packs many bizarre incidents in his story but character development is weak. The love of Pak Jun Do for North Korea's most famous actress and how that love develops is too contrived and unbelievable.
Johnson's book reads like a comic book episode of Captain America or, more aptly, Captain Korea. The hero's tortuous flight to freedom is unconvincing.
North Korea is a dark totalitarian country that needs real heroes. Adam Johnson appears to have enough understanding of the country to create a more believable North Korean character than Pak Jun Do.
Rated of 5
by Linda N. (Dallas, TX) The Orphan Master's Son
A disturbing,challenging book that takes the reader into North Korean culture where truth finds expression in lies and deceit. Intrigue, danger, and glimpses of human vulnerability define this unique rites of passage story. The plot is rich; the characters are as illusive as the fabricated lives they live. The story haunts long after the last page.
Rated of 5
by Lesley M. (Mesa, AZ) The Orphan Master's Son
I was very disappointed with The Orphan Master's Son. The storyline seemed promising; the life and struggles of a young man growing up in North Korea. I like to read books that take me to another country and let me learn about their culture, but this book didn't give me enough of a feel for the place to let me "go there". The characters were not developed enough and the story line seemed unstructured. So, I never really got into the book at all. I would not recommend this book to a book group or to a friend.
Rated of 5
by Joan B. (Ellicott City, MD) The Orphan Master's Son
This book leaves me with conflicted feelings about reviewing it. I was glad to finish, but sorry it was over. Part One was fascinating and a fast read. To finish Part Two was more difficult, but absorbing. I continued to reread passages so I could understand the time frame. The daily loudspeaker announcements in every home emphasized one of the brainwashing mechanisms of a despotic government. It is interesting to realize how people accept the "truth" of the media. The way a Korean "John Doe" managed to maintain his identity was truly spellbinding. I always realized the inference of corruption and cruelty in North Korea, but never knew the truth of the matter. This book depicts the possibility of that truth.
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...