“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.” - Yeonmi Park
"One of the most harrowing stories I have ever heard - and one of the most inspiring." - The Bookseller
“Park's remarkable and inspiring story shines a light on a country whose inhabitants live in misery beyond comprehension. Park's important memoir showcases the strength of the human spirit and one young woman's incredible determination to never be hungry again.” —Publishers Weekly
In In Order to Live, Yeonmi Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.
Park confronts her past with a startling resilience. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country. Park’s testimony is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
A memoir, a thriller, and a historical adventure rolled into one, In Order to Live had us spellbound. We held our breath as young activist Yeonmi Park narrates her escape from North Korea at age 13, sneaking past armed guards on the frozen Chinese border. Park’s heartbreaking story shoots backward and forward in time, providing unfathomable snapshots of North Korean life, where children are forced to watch executions, dead bodies line the streets, and people risk their lives for a bowl of rice. We doubt we’ll ever forget this humbling, empowering tale of survival.
In 2007, the thirteen-year-old malnourished Park and her mother fled to China from North Korea. Park skillfully details the total mind control, fear and starvation which constitute the nightmarish daily life under North Korea's Kim dynasty. Park and her mother were also searching for her older sister, who escaped the country just a few days earlier. Park's narrative chronicles the downfall of her relatively prosperous family following her father's arrest and imprisonment for trading on the black market. Soon after, the family began its descent into starvation. Once in China, the pair, thinking they had reached freedom or at least food, instead realized they were now victims of human trafficking. "We had come to a bad place, maybe even worse than the one we had left." Eventually Park finds her way across Mongolia to South Korea. Following a painful period of adjustment to a new life, Park finds her footing. She gets her GED, she attends university, and even becomes a television celebrity on a talk and talent show featuring North Korean defectors. Now a leading human rights advocate, Park's remarkable and inspiring story shines a light on a country whose inhabitants live in misery beyond comprehension. Park's important memoir showcases the strength of the human spirit and one young woman's incredible determination to never be hungry again.
Why do I all of a sudden…
Feel like I’ve taken a small trip to NK? Through Yeonmi’s writing, I now have a refined perspective on this world.
Incredible story of a strong woman. Inspires me to do better. If anyone is going through hardships, spend some time on this quick and impactful read.
Must read if you think you know about North Korea.