I was surprised at how much they worshipped the dictators. Also it was strange at how they had to criticize each other in public. No wonder so many of the North Koreans had trouble getting used to living in a different culture. Plus, that would totally mess you up mentally and emotionally.
It’s been a couple of years since I read this one, but the fact that you never knew who was reporting everything back to the government was so stressful, considering the things being reported would not be crimes anywhere else. And having to have the picture of Kim Jong (can’t remember if it was Il or Un) in your house on display. I would be horrified if I fundamentally disagreed with a President and was forced to see their face on my wall daily and keep it dusted.
I was most surprised that some of the people who defected didn’t really want to defect. They were either forced to, or accidentally did and the consequences of leaving were so great they had to find a way to stay hidden.
I was also surprised that the neighboring governments sent the defectors back for the most part.