Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: "Pyongyang: A Journey into North Korea" by Guy Delisle

 It's graphic novel review time!

So, North Korea. I think that if we knew one half of the things that are happening in North Korea we would be terrified. The information that trickles out already is horrible. Anyway, this graphic novel is the story of our author, a French cartoonist/illustrator who has the oppurtonity to go to North Korea for a short time and work on some of their films. (There's a whole interesting thing about how North Korea has this whole film industry that I didn't really expect it to have.)

His hotel room has power for less than half the time. All the foreigners are put on one floor of the hotel. He's never without a "guide" (aka state sponsored babysitter). He sees people "volunteering" to toil in fields or fix roads on the days that they aren't at their actual jobs.  He tries to find out if his handlers truly believe that they live in the best country in the world and that the rest of the world quakes in fear at North Korea's name; or if they look so convinced so they and their families don't disappear in the middle of the night.

(Did you know that during a famine that killed at least (that we know of) 1 million North Koreans,North Korea was the biggest importer of Hennessy? It's not a strong enough word, but when I was reading this book and thinking about the Kims (Dad and Junior) I kept thinking - "What douches. For real. Kings of the Douches.)

One thing that Guy mentioned really stuck with me. He said he never saw one handicapped person the whole time he was in North Korea. He was there for at least a month. Can you imagine going for a month without seeing a person with any kind of handicap or disability? And you know it's not because, like, North Korea has cured all of these terrible diseases, or figured out how to unparalyze people, or whatever and isn't sharing it with the world. That gave me goosebumpy chills. It still is, if I'm honest.

This was such an interesting read. I learned so much and was made even more curious about what happens over there that we don't know. I also liked the approachable and not weird drawing style, as per the usual.
4 stars out of 5!


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