I feel kind of awful rating this 4 stars considering the subject matter. This book was both fascinating and heartbreaking. I didn't really know much about North Korea. The most I could have told you is they have nuclear missiles and their government hasn't changed much since the Korean war. I never would have guessed how bad things really were. I grew up a spoiled American. I don't mean spoiled in the sense that I got everything that I wanted. What I mean is, if we were out of food we were allowed to go to the store and buy more. If we could afford a new TV, we didn't need an official to ok us buying one. If we wanted to visit family we didn't have to get permission from the government. We weren't told we couldn't live somewhere just because my brother is autistic and might embarrass my country if any visitors saw him. We didn't have to worry about friends and neighbors turning us in for making some offhanded quip about our country's president. We didn't have to worry about the government making surprise visits in the middle of the night to make sure we were following the rules. These are things North Koreans do have to worry about. I'm glad I read this book, but I feel like a little part of me died along with all those starving to death in the streets. I do not recommend this book for the faint of heart.