In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park is an Amazon released book that offers insight about the plight of North Koreans. Through the book, Yeonmi reveals of the suffering she went through and which a great number of North Koreans endure to this very day.
The author details how her family suffered under the dictatorial leadership of Kim Jong-Un. She sheds light into how she and her mother were deceived, betrayed and later sold into sexual slavery after escaping into China. Yeonmi Park tells of the experiences and hardships they went through in China as they searched for her sister before making way to Seoul, South Korea. According to the author, this was freedom to her and her mother. By realizing how her story could be an inspiration to many in North Korea, Park decided to write the book. In Order to Live has been described as heartbreaking but yet with hope.
Yeonmi Park story and life begins in Hyesan, North Korea. During the 1990s, when the Hyesan economy collapsed, there was no food and people were left to fend for themselves. In order to survive the famine that had rocked her hometown, Park’s father resorted to smuggling. Her father was consequently arrested by the North Korean police. He was later released and reunited with his family. The family planned to escape to China but unfortunately, Park’s elder sister left for China without notifying them.
They escaped into China by crossing the border with the help of human traffickers and brokers. Park went with her mother after her father fell ill and fearing he would slow them down he stayed behind in North Korea. Some traffickers threatened to expose them to the authorities unless Yeonmi Park and her mother had sex with them. Park’s mother had no choice but to offer herself for their own safety. After settling in China, Park arranged for her father to be smuggled into China months later. He died a year later after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
Park and her mother finally found refuge in Seoul on 1st April 2009. While in South Korea, the two found jobs and Park continued with her education. They finally reunited with her sister in 2014. Park started writing and speaking about their life in North Korea. The Washington Post and the Reason TV have interviewed her on several occasions.