Title: Without You, There Is No Us
Author: Suki Kim
Publish Date: October 14, 2014
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us.
It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune
and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all
universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the
students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the
all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled
compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on
impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has accepted a
job teaching English. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals
a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them to write, all
under the watchful eye of the regime."
My Two Cents:
Suki Kim is a writer that
has the opportunity to go teach English at a university for the the
children of the North Korean elite. The position comes with a list of
very strict (and bizarre) rules. Kim decides to make the best of it and
enters a world where the strange is real (but you better not talk about
it too much).
I read a lot about North Korea. It seems like such
an interesting place and one that is really hard to fathom, especially
compared to all of the other places that I've been. This book is unique
in that it focuses a lot on the author's reflections and how all of the
different things that she saw made her feel. To some degree, I wish she
would have talked a little more about what was going on on this campus
but overall, you get a good taste of what this university and its
students were like. The students come from some of the most well liked
North Korean families so their experiences seem to be much more
sheltered than some of the other North Korean experiences that I have
This book gives a unique perspective and was well written!