Out of North Korea
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Out of North Korea
Author: Alana Terry
Major Themes: Prisoners, North Korea
Synopsis: When Ian wakes up in a North Korean prison, he must figure out how he got there and why the North Korean government is suspecting him of treason against the state.
When I first started reading Out of North Korea, I expected to be sucked into the story right away and have a hard time putting the book down. That didn’t happen, but something even better did—while I wasn’t so drawn by the story that I couldn’t put it down, I was able to read it and savor the events and lessons as they came.
This book is pretty impressive. Without becoming preachy, or cliché, or even dragging, Ms. Terry manages to tell this entire story in first-person, present-tense. That is a feat in writing—good writing—that I have not managed to crack yet!
Ian McCallister has woken up in a prison in Korea, with his last memory being accepting a pill in China meant to help him with a headache. Now, he realizes he’s at the mercy of the Korean government, and the officials want him to admit to crimes of plotting against the government. As an American journalist, he has no such plans and cannot understand how they could accuse him of such things—until he finds out they know more about his backstory than he was aware. Can he, an American stuck behind North Korean prison bars, endure and somehow get through his imprisonment? Is the American dream he always has worked for actually worth as much as he is now paying?
I appreciated Ms. Terry’s perspective. She writes with a loving compassion and a depth of thought I haven’t seen very often.
This book challenged and encouraged me at multiple levels. Seeing how God works—even in seemingly impossible situations—is always a faith-builder. Even in fictitious stories. It’s encouraging to know that even in situations where faith seems utterly impossible, God is still supporting His children in that place. No, it isn’t easy, but He’s there to be with them and that’s the really beautiful part.
While this book may have been a disappointment for me (for some reason, it never felt very suspenseful or gripping, as I was expecting), I do feel like there is a lot of value in it from a faith standpoint. That is a very strong element through the book, and I appreciated it. Overall, this was a great story, one I’d encourage anyone interested in different perspectives or wanting a novel on someone growing in their faith in North Korea. After all, how often do you come across a book like that?!
I requested a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: Chapter 1 has the word “heck” appear twice. Chapter 2 mentions wrists chafed until they’re bloody. Chapter 4 uses the word “hell” (although I believe it’s the right connotation). Chapter 12 includes some drinking and a drunk man. Chapter 13 talks about evolutionary remnants, and a sentence or two about several guys who were killed ruthlessly. Chapter 15 has someone swearing in it, and the word “blasted” is used. Chapter 17 has the word “gee”. Chapter 23 has the word “blasted”. Chapter 61 uses the term “hurts like the dickens”.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy Out of North Korea:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Paperback
Keywords: North Korea