In Order to Live

In Order to Live

A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom

Book - 2015
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"Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before [now] has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape"--Amazon.com.
Publisher: New York :, Penguin Press,, [2015]
ISBN: 9781594206795
Branch Call Number: 325.21095193 PAR
Characteristics: 273 pages

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c
csrestall
Mar 28, 2018

This book is a must read. Especially for people that want to learn more about what it is like in North Korea, and for the victims of sexual trafficking. The story is split into three parts. North Korea, China, and South Korea. The first part details the author's experience as a young girl living in North Korea. There are many details and insights into the class system, and every day experiences involving famine, fear etc. The China section shows the devastating effects of human trafficking on vulnerable people. The third section might be considered the happy ending, with the reunion of the family. I cant really begin to express how important and courageous and inspirational this memoir is without you reading it yourself.

g
glenneaton
Jan 14, 2018

The true story of a young North Korean girl's struggle to survive and escape the cruel North Korean regime.

Yeomni gives a detailed picture of what it's like to live under an oppressive regime, the hardships, lack of food, power shortages (playing games in complete darkness).

She explains the "class" system, and how her family was in a higher echelon but fell once her father was caught smuggling metal (the only way he could provide for the family). And once you or anyone go down in the social ladder there's no recovery.

The government is dreadful at managing the country, there are shortages everywhere (except the capital), even major infrastructure like railways suffer with trains unable to complete journeys due to power shortages.

It's sad to read of the hunger to the point they can think of nothing else but food. The whole tragic situation is the worst of all communist dictator governments.

A must read for anyone concerned about human rights.

JCLMeganK Dec 18, 2017

Yeonmi's story is amazing. It is still difficult for me to comprehend that these things are happening today, but that is why this was such an important read. It did get difficult to read towards the middle, because of her experiences being trafficked in China, but I'm so grateful she was brave enough to share her story with the world.

m
moonjo
Oct 13, 2017

It always amazes me how gullible people are. This book is one of those that try to portray North Korea as horrible as possible. The author is one of those so-called celebrity North Korean defectors who are trying to sell their miserable stories in North Korea. The more sensational, the better. Everybody should stay away from this kind of stories, no matter how plausible they sound.

j
jenna_alexandria
Oct 23, 2016

amazing book. Yeonmi definitely had a hard life. I felt the ending of the book was a bit rushed. She described her time in South Korea very brief.

l
Lyndsay44
Sep 02, 2016

I really found this book amazing. That a girl so young could be so strong and do what she did to escape North Korea shows a wonderful strong Character. This is a must read book so we are aware of just what is happening in this country.

m
mila797
Jun 25, 2016

Incredible book, filled with sadness and beauty. This book will change the way you see the world.

e
Eil_1
Mar 10, 2016

Aside from military shows produced by North Korea, we know little about the abusive, totalitarian dictatorship of this country's leader. Yeonmi's story is one of a courageous girl/woman who struggled to survive. Since freedom, love and a sense of personal dignity are beyond the pale of the people of N.Korea, her first objective is to have enough to eat. Secondly, on arriving in S. Korea, she then begins her journey to understand and live the ethics we take for granted. It's an exceptional book and definitely worth reading.

m
miaone
Mar 04, 2016

I read this and also The Girl with Seven Names by Hyonseo Lee, one right after the other, and I recommend them both highly. They have much in common in that their families were persecuted in N. Korea to the point that some family members escaped to China and beyond. But the two protagonists lived in dissimilar economic and social circumstances in N. Korea, and their escape routes were not at all the same. The families' experiences in surviving (or not) for each other, and their eventual new homes were so different that it's worth it to read both books. The subject is timely and relevant to the most recent headlines from N. Korea.

g
gcarolann
Feb 16, 2016

One of the best biographies I have read: insightful look into the oppression of North Korea on its poorer citizens. Not only physical but mental and emotional. Her harrowing journey to safer places and to thinking as a free person makes for a book you will think about long after you finish reading.

Age Suitability

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c
csrestall
Mar 28, 2018

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

g
glenneaton
Jan 14, 2018

glenneaton thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

j
jenna_alexandria
Oct 23, 2016

jenna_alexandria thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Notices

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c
csrestall
Mar 28, 2018

Frightening or Intense Scenes: frightening scenes during escape, starvation , upsetting descriptions

c
csrestall
Mar 28, 2018

Sexual Content: rape, sexual exploitation of a minor

c
csrestall
Mar 28, 2018

Violence: rape

Summary

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c
csrestall
Mar 28, 2018

This novel is divided into three parts. The first North Korea details the authors life as a young girl in North Korea. In the beginning of her life her father had a good status with the government and was able to provide his daughters with food, clothes, and luxury items to an extent. He fell out of favour with the government and relied on smuggling to make his money and was still doing well for his family. Everything changed when he was arrested and the family's social status changed. There was not much food and the girls were starving, they were not sure if they would ever see their father again. They were often left alone for long periods of time, months on end. Eventually their father was released from prison and they were a family once more. Yeonmi's older sister wanted to try to escape to China, their mother thought it was also a good idea but wanted to go together. Her sister did not wait and went with a friend. She was missing for seven years. Trying to follow her sister Yeonmi and her mother decided to cross into China too, but were trafficked without much knowledge of their situation. They were sold for their bodies and raped. Yeonmi was only 13 years old, she had to live with a man as his mistress to avoid being sold to a farmer. Her mother was sold and they were separated.Eventually Yeonmi's father was able to be smuggled into China where it was discovered he had cancer and died shortly after. After much hardship they were finally able to cross into Mongolia and to South Korea where they were eventually reunited as a family.

Quotes

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d
deepinthought
Jul 12, 2016

"It's amazing how quickly a lie falls apart in the face of truth."

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