I actually read this book a little over a year ago. But Somewhere Inside still remains as one of the most compelling not to mention most emotional autobiography I have ever read (there were definitely times when I was crying while reading this book on the Boston T). This memoir recalls journalist, Laura Ling’s experience of being jailed in North Korea after being accused of illegally trespassing into the border along with her co-worker, Euna Lee as well as her sister, Lisa Ling’s campaign in rescuing them from captivity. The story also incorporates stories of Lisa and Laura’s childhood and growing up together as sisters and how their sibling relationship has evolved and further strengthened during Laura’s captivity. It is this positive enforcement that pushed Lisa’s determination to get her sister and her colleague out of North Korea.
Reading through this book, I could definitely tell this was some form of therapy particularly for Laura Ling who chose to recount her life in North Korea living in fear for several months inside a closed nation, not knowing whether she’ll be free or be imprisoned forever and never see her family again. She and Euna were kept separately and lived in separate prisons. However, despite being imprisoned, Laura was able to make friends with the prison guards in her cell and be able to communicate with them. She was also well-fed and provided medical care. At the same time, she had to endure the commanding and often frustrating demands and unpredictable behavior of the North Korean government in trying to find solutions for her freedom. She and her family also had to be careful about how they communicated to each other through letters and occasional phone calls because they were constantly being watched and screened by the North Korean government.
Furthermore, the book clearly sheds light on life of people in North Korea and the terrible environmental and social conditions the country’s citizens are living under. Overall, Somewhere Inside illustrates the challenges and risks, serious journalists encounter when trying to expose the truth about the world’s problems.