Title: Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea
Author: Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy via NetGalley for review purposes.
Every Falling Star is an intense and harrowing memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju whose father made a political mistake which led to them being banished from Pyongyang. Forced to live on the streets at a young age, Sungji creates a street gang who become ‘brothers’ to him. They survive by begging, stealing, and fighting. Sungju’s powerful memoir is one I highly recommend and it gives an insight into contemporary North Korea.
Every Falling Star is about the resilience, bravery and hope of a young boy whose childhood was taken from him by a country and a leader he admired and loved. The shift in Sungju’s thinking was an element I particularly liked. Sungju struggles to accept that the country he has been taught to admire and love is the same one that he is currently experiencing – one full of death, hunger, and cold. Every Falling Star also gives an insight into how the ‘cult of personality’ works and how deeply ingrained it is in society, especially in children.
While in such atrocious conditions and circumstances and suffering from a loss of childhood and a life full of fear, death, destruction and pain, Every Falling Star is still full of hope, courage, and most importantly – love.
As a History graduate, I’ve always believed memoirs to be an excellent historical source. My whole dissertation was focused around memoirs and narratives. I believe that Every Falling Star is educational but a personal read and an important one for those looking for information on contemporary North Korea.
Overall, Every Falling Star is a powerful, honest, and important memoir that deserves to be read and heard.