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Nothing to Envy (Demick) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions 
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Nothing to Envy:

1. Demick follows the lives of six North Koreans. Whose story do you find most compelling, disturbing, horrific—or inspiring?

2. Talk about what happens to those who manage to defect. How do they manage life outside North Korea? What are the difficulties— both practical and psychological—they confront in their new lives?

3. Demick describes North Korea, not as an undeveloped country, but as "a country that has fallen out of the developed world." What does she mean? What would it be like for any of us to live under the conditions in North Korea? What would be most difficult for you? What shocked or angered you most about the book's descriptions of life in the DPRK?

4. Discuss the history of North Korea and its descent into deprivation. How did a formerly wealthy, industrialized country—which attracted Chinese from across the border—deteriorate into its present state?

5. What does it take to survive in North Korea? How do some get around the restrictive laws?

6. Do Koreans love their "dear leader" as much as they claim?

7. How does one explain the disparity between North and South Korea?

8. Talk about your experience reading this book? Was it hard to get through...or did you find yourself unable to put the book down? Were you depressed, angered, outraged, thankful for your own life...or all of the above?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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