Rated of 5
by 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.
Rated of 5
by Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO) WOW
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.
Rated of 5
by 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.
Rated of 5
by Audrey C. (Canfield, OH) All Woman and Springtime
In All Woman and Springtime, Jones easily envelopes the reader from page one into the lives of his two main characters and the journey they take from an orphanage in North Korea to South Korea and finally to Seattle. They become sex workers and suffer one indignity after another. This novel is not for a reader who suffers from "acute cerebral prudery" because Jones explicitly describes the physical, psychological, and sexual abuses heaped upon each girl. Certainly, this is a timeless theme! The girls display the pains of what the atrocities of asocial ignorance, coupled with immaturity and ingrained fear can do to destroy them. Yet, the book's title subtly hints at a potential metamorphosis and perhaps all will somehow be righted so that the girls can be productive and develop self-worth.
Early on a weakish character, Gi, slowly but methodically displays tiny glimmers of survival and coping with her escapes into numbers and calculations. Therein is the hope! To be sure, man's inhumanity to man still exists. But, Gi persists with her retreats into the mathematical world and sustains herself. She proves that somehow the human spirit can overcome these inequities and human interactions, trust, and chance opportunities eventually can create an all woman and springtime - a being to herald a time of rebirth in mind, body, and soul!
Rated of 5
by 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!
Rated of 5
by 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.
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