In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park is a new book that tells the story of a perilous journey from the confines of North Korea to freedom in the outside world. The book, which was released on Amazon on September 29th is already taking the world by storm. It is a first-hand account of what life is really like under the strict dictatorship in place in North Korea and gives us a better insight into the horrific and horrendous conditions that ordinary citizens must endure in this deeply troubled country.
While Park has told parts of her story before, this book is the first chance that readers will have to learn about the details of her life and journey to escape North Korea. It is a powerful autobiographical memoir that gives insight into the life of one girl and her family under the regime of an oppressive dictator and exactly how difficult it is and what it takes to escape that life. In the book, readers get an inside look into her amazing escape, which began in 2007, when Park was only 13. Readers and reviewers alike have praised the book for its straightforward view and heartfelt approach into the life of a Korean citizen.
The author, Yeonmi Park was born in 1993 in Hyesan, Ryanggang, North Korea. Her father was part of the Workers Party, which is the ruling party in North Korea, and her mother was a nurse for the North Korean Army, as a result her family lived a mostly safe, middle-class life in North Korea until her father was imprisoned for “illegal activities”. Their lives changed dramatically after this, and even though they experienced hardships beforehand, they no longer had the protections they had become used to.
Yeonmi Park and her mother found a way to leave Korea by way of China. Even in China they were not truly free and endured many hardships and struggles before they were able to leave China and eventually made their way to South Korea where they were united with Yeonmi’s older sister Eunimi.
Since escaping from the oppressive regime of the North Korean government, Park has made her struggle public and has worked tirelessly as a human rights advocate and activist. She hopes that her story will help humanize and expose the human rights violations that are occurring on a daily basis in North Korea, and that she can make a change and make a difference. Prior to writing her book, Park had published articles in publications such as the Washington Post and had told her story on talk shows and given interviews to journalists as well as working for the organization Liberty in North Korea which works to provide liberty and justice for North Koreans.