Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden (Audiobook narrated by Blaine Harden)
I am sort of apathetic about this one. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t love it. Shin Donghyuk’s escape from North Korea’s brutal Camp 14 is indeed an incredible one. Shin is one of the rare people to have been born inside one of North Korea’s brutal political prisons/labor camps, and actually escaped — so of course the information is interesting. But for some reason, I couldn’t totally get into the book itself. I listened to this in audiobook form, and I suspect that might have a bit to do with it, though it’s not the only reason I struggled with it. The audiobook for Escape from Camp 14 is read by Blaine Harden, the author, and I don’t know that he had that great of a narrator’s voice. Unrelated to his narration but important technically is that it very distinctly sounded like 2 or 3 takes of the narration had been done and spliced together. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal, except that it was VERY obvious — oftentimes Harden’s voice and tone would change several times within the same sentence, and it was weird enough to throw me off and bother me. That said, I do think Shin’s story is incredibly important and interesting, and I only wish I had been able to connect with it more.