Study Guide

The Orphan Master's Son Tough-o-Meter

By Adam Johnson

Tough-o-Meter

(8) Snow Line

Aside from the switch-up in the narrative at the opening of Part Two, Johnson's writing is not all that hard to understand. He's often darkly humorous, and the storyline is compelling. We're giving this one a high rating, though, because of the emotional toll it will take on you. As NPR interviewer Rachel Martin confessed to Johnson, "...when I was first handed this book, I thought, I don't know if I want to live in this world."

It's definitely tough to put yourself voluntarily in the grim world of North Korea, but this amazing story—combined with Johnson's beautiful writing—will more than compensate for the guaranteed emotional scarring.