Posted on October 15, 2012
I was surprised to see so many books about North Korea in the Social Science section at Chapters, the bookstore. I picked up Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.
Nothing to Envy chronicles the lives of six North Koreans – a teenage couple secretly in love, a female doctor, a homeless boy, a factory worker, and her rebellious daughter – over a period of fifteen years.
My fascination with the lives of ordinary North Koreans grew after hearing about a friend’s son who, upon turning 18, actually visited the country on his own. I’m sure that he stood out. He’s over six feet tall with strawberry blond hair! It was fascinating to hear about his visit, and I couldn’t help but think about the stark contrast between the lives of North and South Koreans. It also got me thinking about the lives of Korean-Canadians which again is so different from the two Koreas.