Yeonmi Park’s Book Gives A Voice To North Korean Civilians Entrapped By Horrendous Regime

Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom is a harrowing and vulnerable account of her escape from the oppressive rule on Kim Jong Un and the North Korean regime. At the age of 21, Park is a human rights activist that sheds life on her tumultuous youth in North Korea. The book hits the shelves September 29, 2015 and offers a revealing glimpse of Park’s childhood and escape from North Korea.

Many people believe that North Koreans are brainwashed and find no fault in their ruler. But Park states that this notion is not accurate, that 24 million people are living in poverty under Kim Jong Un’s regime and that these people just want to experience freedom.

From an early age, Park told the NY Times that she was exposed to unimaginable horrors. Though she was born into privilege, it was soon snatched away and her father was sent to a labor camp. Park and her mother embarked on a long journey towards freedom. At the tender age of thirteen, Park and her mother fled the country. They were both sold into human trafficking. Park became someone’s mistress when they promised her that they would allow her to see her parents. When her father came to China, he was afflicted with colon cancer. Park was alone when she had to bury her father’s ashes in the small hour of 3 a.m. Eventually, Park saw her mother again and they decided to flee. At fifteen years old, Park and her mother retreated across the desert during a cold night. The temperature was minus-40 degrees, and since no one anticipated anyone to attempt to cross the desert in such frigid temperatures, they were able to escape to freedom. At first they navigated the desert by compass, but ultimately they had to navigate by the stars.

Park’s book is a haunting account of her youth and her escape from North Korea gives audiences a glimpse of the real brutalities and oppression the people of North Korea face on a daily basis. Her words are honest and resonate with truth. Park sees it as her mission to give a voice to North Korean civilians that are repressed under the rule of a horrendous leader. She wanted the world be aware that reprehensible individuals are buying North Korean girls of 14 and 15 for the paltry sum of $200. She advocates for human rights, as she did here in this speech…


Park is a brave young woman that has faced many hardships to stand where she is today. She bravely shares her story, hoping that it will start a dialogue. Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom is written in such an honest way that it forces readers to revaluate their own freedoms. Freedom is often taken for granted; this book will make you appreciate your everyday freedoms more deeply.


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