And a few quotes and thoughts:
"She liked to dress well because she thought this made up for plain and ordinary looks." (Chapter 1)Perhaps I ought to dress better to make up for my plain and ordinary looks? I do try to smile to make up for my plain and ordinary looks, but my plain and ordinary personality causes me to wear generally plain and ordinary clothes. I did a research paper once on how better looking/better dressed people get treated better. but I'm still pretty plain and ordinary.
"If a couple loved each other too much, it would condense all the affection that should last a lifetime into too short a period and one of them would die young." (Chapter 1)Oh that's a disheartening belief!
The birth of Kim Jong Il:
"His birth was foretold by miraculous signs in the heavens: a double rainbow over Mount Pectu, swallows singing songs of praise with human voices, and the appearance of a bright new star in the sky." (Chapter 4)It's interesting that he would choose similarities to the signs of Christ's birth. Maybe that's why he didn't want them knowing anything of Christianity because they'd see that he copied parts of the signs of Christ's birth. It's like he thought of himself as a combination of Christ, Santa Claus, and an Egyptian pharoah. The author points out later in the book, that the only person with real freedom in North Korea is the ruler, not the people.
"Women had to be more careful than men in their attitude toward everything in life." (Chapter 17) Sad, but true.
The name she got when she was engaged to someone she didn't want to be engaged to: "My new name meant: the person who respects elders and makes a good wife by following her husband and listening really well to him." (Chapter 22) How insulting!
Lee experienced miracles in her life. A train worker helped them get away from another worker, and in a culture where people often turn each other in to authorities for crimes, no other passengers on the train exposed her hiding family (Chapter 6). In chapter 45, when Lee is helping her mother and brother defect, while in transport, after openly speaking Korean with one another, they are stopped by an officer at a checkpoint, and her brother and mother pretend to be deaf and mute and no one turns them in! In Chapter 48, Dick from Australia miraculously comes to her aid. He gives her money, lets her stay in his guest house, and accompanies her to the jail. She hadn't experienced such kindness with no strings attached. She says "Random acts of kindness had been so rare that they'd stick in my memory. . . . He showed me that there was another world where strangers help strangers for no other reason than that it is good to do so. . . . From the day I met him, the worlds was a less cynical place. I started feeling warmth for other people. This seemed so natural, and yet I'd never felt it before."