April 16, 2024

‘Dear Reader’: The surprising earnest story of Kim Jong Il

Readers expecting 'Team America'-style parody are in for a surprise

It’s something of a shame that Michael Malice’s Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il does not come with a bibliography. Malice was not an author who had dealt with North Korea before: His previous subjects included a UFC champion, a standup comedian and even himself, but he says he dug into about five-dozen books related to the North prior to completing Dear Reader. The results are informative, and surprisingly earnest.

I say “surprisingly” because of the title of the book: Invoking both the widely parodied former leader and the East Asian tendency to confuse “l’s” and “r’s,” the book’s name sets its readers – dear or otherwise – for over-the-top mockery, or at least a clear satire of the subject.

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