If I had not been reading so much non-fiction about North Korea I'm not sure I would have believed that the things in this book really could have happened. This slim memoir is excellent. It reminded me of "Patient" by Ben Watt because Hyok Kang writes his story in a very straight forward way without asking for pity or adding too much additional to the storytelling.
I was astounded by the amount of physical labor Kang was required to do while living in North Korea. The stories of starvation made me feel guilty. And once his family leaves North Korea, when he is 13, their troubles are not automatically over. A story of living in North Korea and then the escape and the aftermath of being a refugee in South Korea.
Read this book. It's not happy but it's important. The cover of the copy I checked out from the library was even darker - the image on the cover is two malnourished young children - a reminder of the food shortages in North Korea.