Anna Shinoda

More Edits Finished & “Somewhere Inside”

After working since January on edits for my book due out next year, I finally emailed my editor at Atheneum my 12th draft–the second that she has seen– last week. I wrote over 100 new pages and slashed over 30 pages of old writing. I am now waiting to hear what my editor thinks of the changes. Writing this novel and watching it evolve as I have gotten feedback from my writer friends, husband, agent and now editor has been a great learning experience. Although it has been a lot of hard work, seeing it get better with each step of the process has been hugely rewarding.

All too eager to read something other than my own writing this week, I decided to curl up with “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home” by Lisa Ling and Laura Ling.

Even though this is not a teen novel, I felt it was so well done and carries such an important message that I’d do a little review of it here.

I was astounded by Laura and Lisa’s bravery and both physical and emotional strength it must have taken to get through Laura’s captivity and then to relive such a horrific time in their lives so soon after it was over in order to share this story with us.

There are so many good things to say about this book, starting with how it reads like a novel, not at all drab like some non-fiction can be. Both Laura and Lisa have unique and strong voices, but their conversational tone made it easy to understand the complexities of the situation.

I had to finish the book quickly because it was so suspenseful I almost felt that Laura was captive again and the only way I could help her come home was by getting to the part where she was released. I hope that because they did such a great job with writing it, many will read their story and it will bring much needed attention to the people of North Korea.

Aside from it being suspenseful, thoughtful and well written, I believe it is an important read for anyone, but especially Americans, to understand a little more about North Korea and how our governments work (or should I say do not work) together. But I think the most important part of the book was that of Laura being able to connect with her captors and even forging friendships with some. A reminder that we can never judge a person’s heart until we have had a personal experience with them… even someone working as a guard for the North Korean government can be compassionate.

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