Most people want out of North Korea. Wendy Simmons wanted in.
In My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth, Wendy shares a glimpse of North Korea as it's never been seen before. Even though it's the scariest place on Earth, somehow Wendy forgot to check her sense of humor at the border. But Wendy's initial amusement and bewilderment soon turned to frustration and growing paranoia. Before long she learned the essential conundrum of "tourism" in North Korea: Travel is truly a love affair. But, just like love, it's a two-way street. And North Korea deprives you of all this. They want you to fall in love with the singular vision of the country they're willing to show you and nothing more.
Through poignant, laugh-out-loud essays, Wendy chronicles one of the strangest vacations ever. Along the way she bares all while undergoing an inner journey as convoluted as the country itself.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2015 Wendy E. Simmons, Vendeloo, Inc. (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
"Lots of swearing."
This book was entertaining and a chance to hear from someone who visited North Korea. But, there are better memoirs if you want to find out personal experiences of North Koreans. Escape from Camp 14, Aquariums of Pyongyang, Dear Leader, Under the Same Sky, Stars Between the Sun and Moon.
Her language was unnecessary.
Yes, although her voice was quite sarcastic in tone. I welcomed the other characters' voices for the relief from listening to her narrating the author's words. I hope Ms Simmons doesn't always sound that way.
Although I can handle the language Ms. Simmons used, it didn't really need to be in there to make the book interesting, on the contrary, it was distracting and grated on me. Her story was interesting enough. I had to make sure my children were not in earshot of my listening to it. Too many times she barked out the F bomb and a few others, not so offensive, but still totally unnecessary. I wish the audio sample would have included her language in it, just for informative reasons.
"Hilarious Yet Real"
Simultaneously hilarious and sad. You can't help but laugh out loud at the paradoxical nature of the country and it was interesting to see things from the perspective of a curious westerner (unlike most books about North Korea which are written by or about DPRK defectors). With her first world perspective being so similar to my own it felt as if I was actually there with her, which made it even more hilarious because her reactions and responses were so similar to my own as I read. I also like the way she researched the nonsense they told her and matter-of-factly dropped side notes of the actual truths throughout the book.
Fresh handler was my favorite character. Her innocence in comparison to other characters such as older handler was refreshing. She wasn't completely consumed by the propaganda and seemed genuinely interested in the outside world
Personality. She gave emotion to each line of the book allowing me to feel the emotions from sarcasm to confusion of Ms. Simmons as she told her story
I laughed a lot. But underneath each laugh was a somber reality that is North Korea
Unfortunately, despite her hilariously entertaining accounts of her experience, it is impossible to avoid coming back to the reality that this is life for North Koreans and they don't have other options. They are prisoners in their own homes and what we are allowed to see and laugh about in this book is the "good", choreographed side of the country, the rest is far worse and the strong desire to want to help them will inevitably sneak up on you at the end of every page. Nevertheless, she does a great job of depicting the Kim regime's big bad propaganda machine.
"facinating look at North Korea"
this book was an excellent inside look at North Korrea. It is much worse than I ever thought it was. It left me sad for the people who know no other way of life.
"Took a bit of getting used to"
I had an issue at first identifying where the author was coming from exactly, as she gives her background and intention much later in the book. Moreover, her writing style can be rather ... flippant (or "sassy"). That having been said, she's a terrific travel writer, capturing moments perfectly, especially impressive as she took as few notes as possible during her stay in case they fell into the wrong hands. So, start out with the idea that she really wants to meet "real" North Koreans and be part of their lives as she has in so many other places; as one should realize in advance, this is Not Easy in North Korea, though she meets with about as much success as is realistically possible.
Usually, I'd say that if one isn't getting into a book after a while, it likely won't improve a lot. This story proves an exception. The saddest moment is her observation of a scene, "That looks live slave labor" with the handler agreeing via non-verbal communication; the funniest had to do with being ... interrupted doing a complicated yoga pose in her room, scantily dressed.
Narration solidly in the very good - excellent range.
This is an insightful, funny book about North Korea. The author's personality shines through and really adds to the story. I'm glad that I listened rather than read the book because the narrator's spot on cadence as well as her pronunciation of Korean phrases makes listening very entertaining!
For a place that very little truth is known this book provides wonderful insight in a thought provoking and entertaining manner. I recommend this to everyone.
"Please write more👍👏🏻"
This audio book was great. I would definitely enjoy listening more of the author's experiences she has had while traveling around the world.
"Author/Narrator too cynical. No insight."
I wanted to *love* this book. But not to be...I bristle at the author's pompous elitist perspective. She began her journey into NOKO with such sarcastic foresight and continued to disparage each experience with the same judgemental tone, not once displaying genuine empathy or compassionate curiosity. I'd like to know more about the reality of NOKO's citizens daily lives and reflect on the teachable moments, but this author is too negative and noisy a companion for me to take seriously. I would not recommend this book -- instead, I encourage you to dive in to Suki Kim's honest, revealing report of life in NOKO: Without You There is No Us"
"Good first hand account of travel in neverland"
Liked the references and comparisons to Alice in Wonderland.
Visit to the DMZ and the invisible wall
Yes it held my attention
Good summary about stuff that the author thought was real.
Ms. Simmons told her story of unbelievable events and propaganda in a way kept me laughing but most of all, made them believable. I have recommended this several time. I do wish there were fewer "f*#%" used but it's her story and she was telling it as she wanted.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, the story, the narration, the ensuing emotions. Short, sweet, sad, hopeful, confusing, enlightening, terrifying, hilarious.... I could go on.
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