Marion T. (Palatine, IL)
All Woman and Springtime
Though difficult to read this is a compelling story on a very important subject-human trafficking and sexual slavery. It is for the mature audience since the contents are graphic, but realistic. That being said, Brandon Jones has written a beautiful, chilling, important novel. The hopelessness that these young girls had to live but the hope in their hearts that one day they would be out of this life made for a very compelling story that hooks the read right from the start.
Sally D. (Racine, WI)
All Woman and Springtime
All Woman and Springtime begins with the story of two young women, Il-Sun and Gi, living at the Home for Orphan Girls in North Korea. Part I describes how both girls arrived at the orphanage, the daily rigors of their lives as seamstresses and the overwhelming fear of living under the North Korean regime ruled by "the Great Leader Kim Il-sung". It is made clear how both girls long to escape their oppressive lives.
Without giving more away, Parts II through IV follows their lives to South Korea and the United States where they unwillingly become involved in sex trafficing.
There are marked changes in style through the story, perhaps done to highlight the abrupt changes the girls go through as the story progresses. There are some very explicit descriptions of mental, physical and sexual torture throughout the book but they are necessary to the telling of the tale.
While the ending of the story seems a bit contrived all in all, this is a very readable book. I would be willing recommend it to others.
Kenneth R. (St. Louis, MO)
Good read about a bad subject.
This book is mail about sex trafficking. The reverence of the North Koreans for the “dear leader” was a bit overdone in my opinion, but the story of three women who make the journey from North Korea to Seattle via Seoul, against their will, and somehow overcome one adversity after another held my interest to the very end.
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.
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.