Privilege to poverty,
family love to forlorn abandonment,
North Korea then is still North Korea now.
From the easy life as child of favored Army officer to outcast thief and gang member, Sungju kept trying to understand the ‘why’ of changes and finally knew that risking death to escape from North Korea was better than living in his homeland impoverished by dictatorship and lies.
This finalist for the 2016 CYBILS Award for young adult nonfiction brings us unsettling glimpses into a world rarely seen and difficult to imagine.
Without the support of your family, how would you survive a hostile new environment?
Book info: Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea / Sungju Lee and Susan McClelland. Amulet Books, 2016. [author Facebook page] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Sungju’s family is flung from high-status to deep poverty after a regime change, as his autobiography reveals the disinformation used to repress North Korean citizens
In a forced relocation from the capital city to a desolate rural town after his father is removed from the military, food and clothing are in short supply, Father reluctantly leaves to find more, Mother doesn’t return from visiting relatives, and suddenly young teen Sungju finds himself living on the street and running a gang of homeless kids.
Why haven’t his parents returned?
What else can he do to survive?
How did Sungju escape to write this memoir?
Almost dystopian in its bleakness and violence, this true story of family, loss, and hope echoes what countless other children and families experience in North Korea even today.