Friday, April 19, 2013

All Woman and Springtime

Title:  All Woman and Springtime
Author:  Brandon W. Jones
Publication Information:  Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Workman Publishing. 2012.  381 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book came as a paperback copy.

Favorite Quote:  "The enemy, she decided was not the communist or the imperialist, but the lack of understanding between them. If one has to be right, then one has to be wrong, in a polarized world. Yes and no. But between the yes and no there is an infinite range of possibilities, a full spectrum of maybe. If you are stuck in either/or, then you are missing the infinite."

All Woman and Springtime is the story of two friends Gyong-Ho and Il-Sun. The two meet as young girls in an orphanage in North Korea. Both are learning to live with the devastation their young lives have already seen. Both are very different, and yet are drawn to each other. A friendship flourishes as they grow up.

As they become young women, their life choices start to diverge. Yet, the friendship lasts and continues to sustain them. As a result of circumstances and choices, they are sold into the sex trade in South Korea. Life leads them through dismal circumstances, yet somehow always together.

The book is a very sad story of the girls' life under the North Korean regime and unfortunately, gets even sadder as they leave that regime for what they think will be a better life. Along the way, they meet people who befriend them and people who betray them.

As such, this book has all the making of a beautiful read - sympathetic characters, a sad situation, and a world issue that deserves attention. Unfortunately, something about the book kept me from an emotional connection with the book. Perhaps the writing style. Perhaps elements of the story that I felt unnecessary. I am not really sure. I am almost tempted to reread it to see what it was that prevented the book from reaching that point, but I probably won't. It was an okay read, but not one that pulled me in completely and held me. 

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