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Book Chronicles Journalists’ North Korea Captivity

In one heart-wrenching letter, she shared her thoughts on the day that her 4 year old graduated from pre-school: In an hour Hanas graduation will start. You know how much I wanted to be there for her. ... I hope she wont be too sad for me not being there for her. Please, could you please tell her that Mommy really tried hard to make it. Honey, from now on for two hours I will think of you and Hana like I am there for you guys.

Her connection with her captors makes for an interesting twist. Because she was born and raised in South Korea, Lee was able to speak with her captors, which Ling couldnt do. At first, she portrays Officer Lee, the main interrogator, harshly, describing how he tried to pit her and Ling against each other and how he yelled as he demanded answers for her confession. But later, he becomes a gentleman who knocked on her door before entering and encouraged her to speak with the Swedish ambassador, who would end up helping negotiate her release.

Most enjoyable about Lees story is her resilience. She experiences fear and despair, as can be expected from anyone taken captive, but what keeps her going is her faith.

I think I am a stronger person than I thought, she wrote in one letter to her husband that inspires tears. And I am okay now. I know I will cry again tomorrow morning, but I am okay now.

The World is Bigger Now may serve as Lees account of her captivity, but it also provides insights into the politics of imprisonment and into a society that has long been closed to the rest of the world, resulting in a worthwhile read.

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