Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju, who is forced at age 12 to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly recreates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his "brothers"; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young listeners to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.
"A pampered son of the elite survives a nightmarish ordeal in this page-turner of a memoir." (
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A truly remarkable story
Every Falling Star provides an almost unbelievable account of SungJu's life in North Korea. I had to keep reminding myself that this is not fiction. What SungJu describes is not just the trauma and troubles that he went through personally, but the same trauma that so many North Koreans have faced, and continue to face, in their daily lives. One can only try to imagine the horror these people experience, and from such a young age, is extremely saddening.
I have to say that it is very well written, and is read perfectly by Shih.
The book made me feel so lucky to be have been born in the U.K., and has helped me to appreciate a lot of the things that I take for granted. It's also eye opening to the issues we still face in the modern world. I'd recommend this book to everyone, as I believe the book provides a perspective that is important for many to see.
- Stephen Galvin