Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom

Rate this book
Human rights activist Park, who fled North Korea with her mother in 2007 at age 13 and eventually made it to South Korea two years later after a harrowing ordeal, recognized that in order to be "completely free," she had to confront the truth of her past. It is an ugly, shameful story of being sold with her mother into slave marriages by Chinese brokers, and although she at first tried to hide the painful details when blending into South Korean society, she realized how her survival story could inspire others. Moreover, her sister had also escaped earlier and had vanished into China for years, prompting the author to go public with her story in the hope of finding her sister.

273 pages, Hardcover

First published September 25, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Yeonmi Park

2 books1,105 followers
Park Yeon-mi (Korean: 박연미) is a North Korean defector and human rights activist who escaped from North Korea to China in 2007 and settled in South Korea in 2009, before moving to the United States in 2014. She came from an educated, politically connected family that turned to black market trading during North Korea's economic collapse in the 1990s. After her father was sent to a labor camp for smuggling, her family faced starvation. They fled to China, where Park and her mother fell into the hands of human traffickers and was sold into slavery before escaping to Mongolia. She is now an advocate for victims of human trafficking in China and works to promote human rights in North Korea and around the globe.

Park rose to global prominence after she delivered a speech at the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin, Ireland — an annual summit that gathers young people from around the world to develop solutions to global problems. Her speech, about her experience escaping from North Korea, received 50 million views in two days on YouTube and social media, with a current total of more than 80 million. Her memoir In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom was published in September 2015.

from Wikipedia

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
47,497 (61%)
4 stars
22,223 (28%)
3 stars
5,436 (7%)
2 stars
1,113 (1%)
1 star
729 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,513 reviews
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,174 reviews8,400 followers
January 20, 2016
I don't think any review I write for this book can do it justice. It's a truly remarkable story, but more than that, it shows a truly remarkable young woman who is resilient and hopeful even in the bleakest of moments. It's the epitome of inspiration, and I wish every single person would read this book and be inspired by it.
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.1k followers
April 19, 2017
Some of you will probably skip reading this review since it’s a memoir and most of my friends and followers, like me are lovers of fantasy & fiction books. Believe me, memoirs or any kind of non-fiction books is a genre I avoid the most. However, after watching Yeonmi Park’s viral video on YouTube back in 2014, I was so moved and when I found out there’s a book based on her life since her birth until her escape from North Korea, I bought it straight the next day. If you decided to not read this review at all, it’s completely okay but please at least watch this video. It’s only 8 minutes long and will shed a light on how dark North Korea is. It’s not an exaggeration when people say South Korea & North Korea is Heaven & Hell on Earth.


That said, I’m going to say this is a book that everyone in this world must read. No one, and I seriously mean this, nobody in this world should ever experience the shits that Yeonmi and her family go through to achieve their freedom.

These days, a lot of people said North Korea is just a repressive country ruled by a fat dude with bad haircut and threaten to launch nuclear every year as if it’s an anniversary event. They joke and make memes about it while in truth, North Korea is a dystopian country with extreme Totalitarianism. If any of you read the book “Animal Farm” or “1984” by George Orwell, this is the reality manifestation of those book. Big Brother? It’s there, doublethink? it’s there, Thought Police? it’s all there in that country with different names.

“In North Korea, even arithmetic is a propaganda tool. A typical problem would go like this: “If you kill one American bastard and your comrade kills two, how many dead American bastards do you have?”

Yeonmi, being only 4 years younger than me (she’s 23 currently) had faced brutal hardships to get through to where she is now. It’s truly a wonder she could smile the way she does now.

At times while I'm reading, I forgot that I’m reading a non-fiction book because it was so fucked up, especially what she went through when she’s 13-15 years old. This story is as real as it gets, it happened and it's still happening to countless people who tried to escape from North Korea. The least we can do is to be aware of this situation.

Yeonmi wrote this book with the purpose that more people will listen to her story and know the reality that resides in North Korea even though this means putting her life in danger as she's now being branded as a public enemy to the whole country where she's born. At the same time she's also letting us know that in the darkest situation, there’s always hope to be found. I listened to her story, I'm inspired and I cared. If somehow my review could reach just one more person to know her story then I’ll be satisfied. Doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, YA, or any other genre, this is a book that everyone must read.

Rant section:
I lowered the score of this book because sometimes I feel the writings are too simple, there's some typos and they made me feel detached. However, I’m seriously disappointed with those who lowered their score because of the reason saying her stories are fakes and fabrications. Seriously what is the matter with you? Look, her details can be wrong sometimes, she's diagnosed with PTSD and depression after everything she went through. The book itself could be mistranslated but really, I challenge you to try remembering every detail of your life since your birth until now, let’s see if you get them right 100%. Heck, I can’t even remember a lot of things from my childhood until middle school. I have a friend who experienced one harsh thing that happened to Yeonmi and trust me, asking her to remember that detail over and over again is like putting a knife in her heart and brain repeatedly. Doing this is like saying she’s the biggest liar of the world, if we won’t trust her story then who will?
Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
June 15, 2021
Update 15 June 2021. NYPost Jane Austen is getting cancelled! Yeonmi Park says that freedom in the US is going the way of North Korea - she is now in Columbia university
"A professor asked who the class who liked classical books, like Jane Austen.
'I said, 'I love those books. I thought it was a good thing.'
'Then she said, 'Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you."

Park warned that Americans were censoring and silencing each other through cancel culture.
'Voluntarily, these people are censoring each other, silencing each other, no force behind it,' she said. 'Other times (in history) there's a military coup d'etat, like a force comes in taking your rights away and silencing you. But this country is choosing to be silenced, choosing to give their rights away.' 'I guess that's what they want,' she said,' to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a communist paradise.'

When Prince Philip died, a librarian in Kings College, London, circulated a photo of him opening the library. She was forced to withdraw it and apologise for the 'harm' it caused as he had made racist and sexist statements in the past. A couple of days ago, it was reported that the same college had honoured an ex-student, Teresa Cheng, China's hardline justice minister with a fellowship, despite her central role (for which the US censured her) in cracking down on the pro-democracy movement movement in Hong Kong.

I think I'm going to have to reread the book and rethink my review in light of this interview with the author. It adds to my knowledge of her and what she went through in a way I wasn't aware of.

Review to be revised
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
943 reviews14k followers
June 25, 2017
4.5 stars

everything hurts and i'm crying

This book just makes you take 10 seats. It's a story I can't even fathom being in. It's like an actual dystopia. Everything was so outrageous and haunting that it was almost unbelievable.

What I found myself enjoying was not just Yeonmi finding physical freedom outside the borders of North Korea and the human trafficking industry, but the mental freedom of learning how to be opinionated and advocating for others' rights. This book is so touching, but so sad.

I took off half a star because although it was an interesting story, the writing wasn't particularly beautiful and flowing, it was just okay. Because of that, it took me a little bit longer to read because it takes longer to get into, but it's not like it's a major issue because after all, english is practically her third language.
13 reviews4 followers
August 3, 2021
Shameless. This is one of the most frustrating readings I had, not because the writing is bad (on the contrary, the touch of a well versed editor is obvious), but because I simply cannot understand how a story that clearly has A LOT of holes in it can be held in such a high regard.

Nothing adds up in Yeonmi Park's book, but nobody seems to care. This should be a red flag for all of us, since it shows that people look for personal heroes and inspiring success stories whatever the cost. Everybody is more than ready to acknowledge and show their support for yet another hero overcoming all obstacles, but what about the half of the book that doesn't seem real at all? If Park adds some lies here and there to make her book more empowering and appealing to the public, shouldn't it rise any kind of suspicion about the overall truthfulness of the story? What if those lies are actually gross exaggerations?

Park starts by telling us about her harsh childhood in a very modest family. However, her father has a great sense for business, and starts smuggling gold and such out of North Korea. She admits that he was a party member, but never mentions his rank in there. My guess is that he had a very comfortable high position, since I doubt that you'd be able to smuggle gold out of a communist country by only bribing low level officials and cops. This discredits her "humble beginning", and probably South Koreans reached the same conclusion when they started calling her the Paris Hilton of North Korea. She goes on with her story, and than she mentions that her father was able to escape prison by promising an incredible bribe to the prison warden. Of course, they were very poor and had no such money, but that was the end of it.

In the meantime, the love theme is casually inserted in the story, when a rich, smart, cool and older (I am running out of adjectives) kid falls for the 13 year Park, despite the social class gap.

Soon after, she and her mother escape to China where they fall in the hand of human traffickers. Here, Chinese brokers rape Korean women left and right, but they never manage to rape Park because she screams and kicks. I'm guessing that the other ones never came up with this solution...

She finally gives in to rape when a big Chinese "gangster" offers to help her entire family if she sleeps with him. This deal naturally evolves in Park being the gangster's right arm in the human trafficking business. This is because Chinese gangsters probably don't have any kind of entourage, and they are in need of 13 year olds to keep the business going. Park mentions that she was prematurely born at 7 months, and that she always was smaller than the rest of the kids. However, this doesn't stop her to convince everybody that she is much older, while practically handling North Korean slaves across rural China.

The love theme is then reintroduced with the entrance of a new bigger "gangster" who kidnaps and also tries to rape her. The previous gangster (practically her partner) wants to get her back, and the love triangle breaks when gang wars are close to start in the city for the sake of Park. She really expects the readers to buy this... And apparently they did.

In passing she is also mentioning having an abortion, but it probably isn't that important in the grand scheme of things.

She then proceeds to do video chat with her mother in order to gain money to escape to South Korea. But while other girls had to strip for their clients, Park managed to build one of the most popular video chat channels by simply talking with her customers, and never taking her clothes off. But there is more! While video chatting she meets a nice South Korean guy who flies to China to simply help her with some money.

Then, Park reaches South Korea where she manages to get from a second grade level to being admitted to a prestigious university in little less than two years. Her sister did it even quicker than that, so what's up with the South Korean educational system? Of course, she is bullied in school by the rich, cool kids.

She than decides to have some TV appearances hoping to find her long lost sister. It doesn't matter that in some of those appearances she was wearing a lot of makeup (even her classmates failed to recognize her and first) and also had a fake name.

These are just a few parts of the story that smell fishy.
Of course, Yeonmi Park did a great job with her book. Let the royalties come! Meanwhile, the rest of us are giving her credit while spending a lot of money on a over-hyped book. Honestly, I would have expected that by now some sort of boycott should have happened out of respect for actual rape victims, human traffic victims and oppressed people in general.

I want my 20 pounds back.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,110 reviews6,575 followers
March 29, 2016
I honestly don't even know what to say. What can you possibly say after reading Yeonmi's story? Completely heartbreaking and horrific, yet inspiring all at once.

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge Notes:
- 19. A non-fiction book
Profile Image for Helene Jeppesen.
688 reviews3,626 followers
February 21, 2018
This is one of the most important books I’ve read in my life!
“In Order to Live” tells the true story of Yeonmi and her family growing up in the dictatorship of North Korea. Yeonmi is very honest from the beginning, and her story tells about the bravery she and her family had to have in order to escape North Korea and survive.
I knew a little bit about North Korea beforehand, but this book was an eye-opener! Never have I imagined what the truth is actually like for North Korean people, and it was devastating to read about famine, extreme poverty, and schools where even mathematics were turned into propaganda to enforce the North Korean regime and diminish the “nasty Yankees” from America.
However, this story also tells us the nastiness of human trafficking in China and how Yeonmi and her family were forced into situations they have felt ashamed of ever since. I’m not going to say anymore here because Yeonmi’s account is simply honest, educating and truly truly important.
Read this book to educate yourself on what is really going on in this world. This is the truth told from the source, and it is eye-opening, devastating, but so so important!
Profile Image for Sarah Churchill.
472 reviews1,175 followers
November 10, 2015
I'm not normally an autobiography fan. I mostly read fiction. But Yeonmi's story is just... you know how they say truth is stranger than fiction? That.

We have to bear in mind here that I met the lovely, kind and humble lady herself before I read this. I'll hold my hands up that that probably had an impact on how much this book touched me.

Split into three parts to document her escape from North Korea, set in NK, China and South Korea, the account is heartbreaking, fascinating and punctuated by the odd bit of humour that translates perfectly from the personality I met - she learned early to hide her suffering behind a mask.

A frightening and fascinating look into life inside North Korea under the Kims' rule, human trafficking in China and the 'reeducaion' of defectors in South Korea, I feel privileged to have met Yeonmi, and wish her every luck in the world in her fight to find justice and reunite Korea.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,521 reviews9,013 followers
January 29, 2023
So my journey with this book and author is messy to say the least. I enjoyed In Order to Live and minus what I found out about the author later, I would have given it a strong four stars. Yeonmi Park exemplifies courage in sharing her experience as a North Korean defector, including her family’s struggle with poverty, the physical difficulty of her escape from North Korea to China to Mongolia to South Korea, and the brutal and horrible sexual assault she and her mother faced throughout the process. The writing in this memoir is clear and accessible, detailed yet sparse enough to keep the momentum of Park’s story moving.

On a whim, though, I looked up the author and saw that she’s become a proponent of right-wing political ideology (e.g., transphobia, anti-Black racism, support of Donald Trump, etc.)?? Beyond her support of oppressive ideologies, her logic is awful – like in the tweet about transphobia, of course you can care about humans rights abuses like murder and starvation and also care about trans rights?? It’s sad that given what she’s went through, she’s now enacting social injustice herself. I guess I’ll give this book three stars though I’m conflicted even with that.
Profile Image for Shaya.
250 reviews324 followers
January 14, 2021
کتاب در مورد فرار یک دختر همراه مادرش از کره شمالیه که به دنبال خواهرش که فرار کرده هستش که میخوان پیداش کنن.
در مورد زندگیش تو کره شمالی میگه و فرارش و در آخر اینکه چطور بعد فرارش با جامعه جدید اخت پیدا میکنه.
کتاب بیشتر روی قاچاق انسان از کره شمالی به چین مانور میده و اینکه چطور نویسنده و مادرش دچارش شدن.
مثلا مادرش برای اینکه به دخترش تجاوز نکنن خودشو در اختیار دلال ها قرار میده اما سرانجام بعد از اینکه مامانشو میفروشن به خودش هم تجاوز میشه!!!!
اما در نهایت با تحمل کردن بسیاری از مشکلات به کره جنوبی میرسن و اونجا زندگی تازه ایی رو شروع میکنن.
یه چیز واسم جالب بود واسه اینکه انگلیسی یاد بگیره میرفت فرندز نگاه میکرد :دی فک میکردم فقط ایرانیا این کارو میکنن ولی فک کنم همه دنیا این کارو میکنن.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,822 reviews12.9k followers
March 24, 2017
Shifting focus on this biography journey away from men with significant power, I wanted to find a piece that would not only educate, but also exemplify some of the struggles of the common person. That this is also a buddy read with a good friend of mine only adds to the interest when it was suggested I read this memoir by Yeonmi Park. Growing up in North Korea, Park offers the reader some history of the country and the autocratic Kim Family dynasty, some of which directly related to her own ancestors' story. Thereafter, Park personalises the story to discuss her backstory, a life on the cusp of abject poverty and general servitude to the Great Country, which included a vignette about gathering an annual faeces quota to help with collective farming, alarming and yet somewhat humerous at times as well. After secretly paving the way to make an escape, Park and her mother cross a small tributary into China, where things are anything but manna from heaven. Supporting a policy of returning North Korean defectors, the Chinese are on the lookout for those who might have snuck across the border. Park explores the treachery that awaited her in China and a life that paralleled the agony of North Korea when she found herself being trafficked. It was only a firm motivation to make her way to South Korea that kept Yeonmi strong and prepared for freedom, a dream that Christian missionaries sought to fulfil. While many take freedom for granted, Park offers an interesting perspective of South Korean freedom, which might provide much sobriety for the reader. Full of tears and angst, Park does not coat her story with flowery tales and sing-song moments, while transitioning from the darkest corners of one country about which the world knows so little. A powerful piece that pulls on the heartstrings of all but the most detached readers, Park provides a degree of determination that no obstacle is insurmountable.

I went into this book sure that I would come out with a ton of information grounded in reality, not solely western propaganda seeking to kick the Kim family around and exploit their suppressive ways. To hear directly from one who has lived in these conditions and seen the horrors of starvation speaks volumes to me. I found myself needing to keep my academic hat firmly in place and remind myself that someone has synthesised this book before it went to print, even though Park professes to have a strong grip on the English language by the time she completed her draft. Adding layers of oppression and making the light of freedom look all the better will sell books, especially to complement the media reports of increased aggression and assassination of familial members, though part of me could not help but accept the stories that fill these pages as being more realistic than reserve-propaganda. Full of the dark sides that these types of stories have to offer, the reader must stomach death, neglect, rape, and even criticism of that which many of us take for granted. Park's surprising openness about the problems with freedom should not be taken lightly by the reader, as she makes a strong case about the perils of removing those who had no choices and supersaturating them with options and pathways. The story was her own, but adding a familial element helped strengthen its delivery and permitted the reader to see how desperate some were to leave North Korea, that they would abandon family to pave the way towards a better life. An underlying theme of political ideology surely finds its way into the discussion, from the Korean War, Soviet-style communism, to the eventual isolated sentimentality that even Mao would not have recognised. One is left to wonder what would be best for North Koreans, especially since most appear less than truly happy, if one is to believe the accounts that Park offers herein. Should people be oppressed or live in a society that does not offer democracy for all citizens? That is up to the reader to decide, though Park provides wonderful insight to open a substantial debate.

Kudos, Madam Park for this honest portrayal of the pains of your motherland and trying to recalibrate in a society only too happy to pile on the criticism. You are monumentally strong for all you have seen and weathered. I hope you will provide a follow-up in the years to come.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:
Profile Image for Zainab.
384 reviews531 followers
April 16, 2022
Read this to get myself out of the slump, instead it put me into the state of depression
Profile Image for Umut.
355 reviews164 followers
August 9, 2018
WOW! This book was just impactful because it's full of a very young woman's strength, endurance and emotions. I loved every bit of it, and I admire Park with all my heart.
Full review coming soon.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,130 reviews364 followers
April 11, 2018
I’ve read a few books from North Korea defectors. Most noticeably A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea and Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, but I hadn’t really read anything from a purely female perspective until now.

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, near the border with China, with her entrepreneurial father, mother and sister. Although they may not have initially had the worst upbringing due to her father’s ingenuity, this changed when he was sent to prison, leaving Yeonmi and her sister alone without food while their mother travelled for work. What follows is the now typical, and harrowing, tale of starvation and desperation to survive in a country that doesn’t care for their own outside of the elite. Yeonmi talks openly of a childhood spent searching for food and constantly living in fear that they could follow in their father’s footsteps. Desperate to survive.

Desperation turns to flight, as Yeonmi and her mother are smuggled into China, and to perhaps an even worse fate than starvation as they soon become embroiled in the trafficking and raping of North Korean women to impoverished Chinese farmers. Throughout her story, Yeonmi is honest and open about her experiences to the point where it almost feels cathartic. By sharing her story it feels like Yeonmi is expressing not only her disappointment in her home country, but also her grief and resilience to thrive. And it also gives hope to those still struggling.

The book also really highlights just how different the experience of defecting is for North Korean women compared to men. Often the men do this alone, and are exposed to harsh and violent endings. The women endure their own unique horrors that seem to revolve around this feeling of powerlessness and reliance on their captors, but often it’s alongside other women who share their plight. For Yeonmi, she had her mother.

The most surprising aspect for me were the later chapters centering around South Korea. I’d read previously of the struggles first encountered by North Koreans during their assimilation into South Korean life, however I wasn’t fully aware of the prejudices, and also the lack of understanding, that Yeonmi faces on encountering native South Koreans. This seems to be no fault on the governments side, as they provide education and money to help ease the pressures, but rather just a general ignorance to the plight of defectors. It would seem, from Yeonmi’s perspective, that they choose to bury their heads in the sand to the real suffering across their borders. I found it especially sad that Yeonmi felt the need to bury all aspects of her North Korean heritage - from her accent, to studying ‘celebrities’ just in order to fit in and be accepted.

The real sentiment I’ll take away from this however, is just how strong the familial bond can be. Yeonmi and her mother face so much adversity through their lives, and continue to look for their missing sister and daughter long after their arrival in South Korea. Their bond never waivers, and the love they have for each other is unending.
Profile Image for Paula.
433 reviews249 followers
March 27, 2020
Es 1984 pero real, está pasando ahora mismo en Corea del Norte, y lo peor de todo es que cuando consiguen escapar del país, los "desertores" están expuestos a las mafias de trata de blancas. Es impactante porque es real, y el Mundo no parece o no quiere darse cuenta de la realidad.

De obligada lectura
Profile Image for Karatepop.
126 reviews176 followers
January 12, 2016
If you are going to read the book I would recommend avoiding articles and interviews until you're done.

Yeonmi Park's story is certainly harrowing. She is part of what is referred to as the 'Black Market Generation', young North Koreans born during/after the famine, North Koreans who don't have the same connection to Kim Il-sung (not only because he was long dead, but because they never experienced a successful/functioning North Korea). Thanks to her father's cunning and business sense, she and her family managed a relatively middle class lifestyle despite their bad songbun. And then the famine happened. And things got worse. And worse.

Or so the book says.

There are questions being asked about how truthful her account of the story, her own story, is. In a nutshell, her story has changed multiple times and in pretty major ways (like escaping with vs. without her father, eating dragonflies and grass vs. not). I have mixed feelings. She has not admitted to lying, rather she explains it all away in the book (and in official responses) as her having been ashamed, just not remembering, or being confused.

As far as the book goes, whether it's true or not, these things happen to people escaping North Korea - women and children are sold, people are beaten and tortured, people ate grass, people witnessed executions and loved ones starving to death.

I was about halfway through the book when I decided I wanted to watch an interview of hers, because certain things - the extremely melodramatic dialogue (two men saying they'll "go to war" over her among other things), her seemingly crucial role in everyone's life, and aside from her family's unique status she experiences just about everything I've ever heard of very poor North Koreans experiencing. Like a checklist of Bad Stuff. The interview I watched happened to be an older one and that's how I learned of the inconsistencies. I Googled and found a few articles - one very good one on thediplomat.com (though, it does use experts and other defectors to confirm her story is off, they also use a man who travelled there and explored "freely" while on business.. he can kick rocks).

I never expect a biography or memoir to be 100% true - memory is simply not that reliable. As someone who has experienced various forms of assault I also understand if some things have only recently come out because she was ashamed or uncomfortable talking about them.

Not all of the alleged lies are huge, many are smaller and wouldn't have a great deal of impact on the story anyway; however, the large ones would. If her father fled with them (as she's said until recently), then did the rape happen? Were they sold? Did she help a human trafficker? Did his connections help them? Small inconsistency in the book: On page 139 she says she has no pictures of her father with her, fifty pages later she says her mother goes to retrieve her father's ashes and and a small packet of family photos. At the end of the book there are photos of her father included. Where did these come from? Did she lie there? Did her sister have them? Maybe. I don't know. Not such a big deal.

Everyone in North Korea is suffering in some way. Not everyone was/is eating grass, but many were/are, and even those who aren't want out. Their struggles and fears are legitimate as well. I wish defectors weren't being coached or changing their story on their own, so that the narrative of their life fitted what we wanted to hear, or need to hear, in order to feel the need to help or care.

Profile Image for Hilly &#x1f390;.
710 reviews1,325 followers
July 11, 2018
4.5 stars

Incredible and heartbreaking story.

I wanted to write a review but honestly I don't think I'll ever be able to. In my opinion it's impossible to write criticism about a book like this.
I'm happy I read this and that I know a little bit more of what happens in the world.
Since no one ever talks about the conditions of NK I'm going to. Everyone I know will listen to me talking about this huge problem.
I had previously read Escape from Camp 14, but I needed some information about women in NK, and this book was perfect for that.

Btw don't let people fool you. Instead of helping Yeonmi and praising her for what she's doing for her country, people that have no idea about what she went through are lying telling the world that she is a fraud. And that's exactly what NK wants you to think.
Everyone that is doing this should be ashamed of himself/herself.

Watch these amazing TED talks:
Profile Image for Peterpan23 Jeremy Perrault .
51 reviews34 followers
April 14, 2023
I have no proper words to describe my feelings, love, affection and respect for this young woman…

“Impossible is Nothing,”
I have lived and journeyed through my own dessert. As Yeonmi Park mentions in her book, “We all travel our own desserts, no matter where you come from. And we continue to do so with every aspect in life. Life is a journey, and I am still exploring.”

I have to say, I developed a mini crush on her strong will, beautiful mind and spirit. She is one to be recon with!
So I set a challenge for all my friends out there; “find what moves you, and never give in to scrutiny or judgement. You are your own god. Learn to live, love, learn and pursue happiness for yourself and no one else.”

No one makes it out alive, so do not just be “alive”, live life to its fullest!
Read this book, and you’ll feel you have loved another day.
Profile Image for Leonie.
66 reviews40.7k followers
January 8, 2019
This was such an insightful story. Both terribly horrific and beautifully inspiring.

Im not giving this book a star-rating because it feels odd to 'rate' a story that is real. I do want to recommend it to everyone who is even remotely interested. Don't be hesistant because it's non-fiction; it's very readable and approachable.

I'll be thinking about this for a long time.
Profile Image for Anne Goldschrift.
326 reviews403 followers
August 7, 2017
Ich weiß, dass es viel Kritik an Yeonmi Park gibt und an der Glaubwürdigkeit ihrer Geschichte. Ich kenne diese Vorwürfe, und tue sie auch nicht als Quatsch ab, sondern denke, dass da definitiv etwas dran ist.
ABER das Buch selbst ist wirklich sehr gelungen. Es ist sehr ergreifend, größtenteils extrem schockierend(vor allem weil ich dachte, dass ich über Nordkorea schon viel weiß) und spannend. Eine Biographie, die man gelesen haben sollte, die aufklärt und meinen Blick auf die Welt nochmal ein bisschen geschärft hat.
Profile Image for Loredana (Bookinista08).
621 reviews229 followers
February 24, 2022
CARTEA ASTA!! Nici nu știu ce să spun despre ea. S-a citit în ritm alert, ca un thriller pe alocuri, ca ficțiune contemporană în alte locuri, și totuși... A trebuit tot timpul să-mi reamintesc că e o poveste reală. Că toate experiențele oribile prin care a trecut Yeonmi au fost reale.
Am iubit cartea asta, și am urât-o în egală măsură. Dar e o carte excepțională. De departe cea mai emoționantă și mai înfiorătoare carte de memorii pe care am parcurs-o. O recomand absolut tuturor, din toată lumea! Povestea lui Yeonmi ar trebui să vină ca un semnal de alarmă la ce s-ar putea întâmpla dacă o mână de oameni acaparează puterea și se apucă să izoleze un popor întreg de lumea exterioară. Coreea de Nord este exemplul suprem al sclaviei moderne. Doar citind povești ale unor evadați de acolo poți înțelege (și nici atunci pe deplin) cum funcționează această manipulare în masă. Absolut înfiorător... Iar să fii femeie într-o astfel de lume... Mult, mult mai rău decât să fii bărbat. De ce mă mai mir oare?...
Profile Image for Katie.
273 reviews3,840 followers
October 30, 2016
I'll have a review of this up next week!
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews934 followers
February 10, 2017
I read this book for the Goodreads book club Diversity in All Forms. Join the discussion: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I am very glad we read this book because North Korea is a country I know very little about. This book was super eye opening. I also had never heard of the human trafficking in China, especially the trafficking of North Koreans.

Books like these are the reason I read. I love having my eyes and world open. They motivate me to make a difference and a change, even if I can only contribute in small ways. I'm a Special Education Teacher that teaches high schoolers with cognitive/intellectual disabilities and I started a book club about diversity. Both of these things are small but they help me feel like I'm making even a small difference.

This book also reconfirms why we need to treat immigrants and refugees with respect, help and understanding. As citizens l, of any country, we need to welcome others and help them adjust. They have been through so much and need us.

I suggest this book to everyone!!!

Profile Image for Mia.
3 reviews5 followers
November 11, 2018
Garbage book. Her written accounts on this book don't match with her interviews. She said she buried her father alone at 3 am yet her mom says they paid two people to help them bury the body. And her mom owned designer/imported clothes back in North Korea. I live in Japan and my own mother couldn't even afford a fucking Chanel bag (which of course her mom had by the way). Their family was considered rich in North Korean standards. HER PARENTS WERE INVOLVED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Her dad was sentenced at first for smuggling metals but after getting out on a sick bail he doubled down and kidnapped some girls in their neighborhood, lured them into "getting prettier" with plastic surgery if they come with him.

Also, this girl is literally funded by Koch Brothers and Atlas Foundation a libertarian group actively trying to destabilize Venezuela with their propaganda. This pretty much discredits her all through out.

Profile Image for chloe.
246 reviews28.5k followers
March 3, 2018
“I inhaled books like other people breathe oxygen. I didn't just read for knowledge or pleasure, I read to live.”

Wow. This book was incredible. What Yeonmi Park and many other North Koreans have gone through is simply horrific and inhumane. She is so brave to tell her story and shine light on this issue. I felt truly inspired listening to this book. Everything that Yeonmi Park has overcome and everything she has achieved since her escape is incredible.

I truly think everyone should read this book and will benefit from it. I believe it is so important to educate ourselves on this issue.

Profile Image for Sara ➽ Ink Is My Sword.
569 reviews441 followers
July 6, 2017
5 Unbelievable Stars

After reading, and while reading this book I kept going.... .... ... I just couldn't speak from all the horrors she went through in her life. I kept asking myself, " If that was me, would I be able to survive?"

Yeonmi went through all the unimaginable nightmares when she was ONLY 13 years old, and she was strong enough to survive and tell us her story today and helps us see the reality our world is leaving today. Because while we are here, reading about fictional dystopian worlds, there are real human beings out there living in ones. This book lets us feel the painful reality and shame of our lives, how we don't think sometimes how absurd we think when we are making a tantrum just because a store doesn't have the flavor of ice cream we want, while in North Korea people don't even consume milk, is a crazy thing right?

This is a most read, just for the sake of humanity <3
Profile Image for Jananie (thisstoryaintover).
290 reviews13.8k followers
February 3, 2020
"We all have our own deserts. They may not be the same as my desert, but we all have to cross them to find a purpose in life and be free."

One of the most heartbreaking things I've ever read but also the most moving and inspiring. I cannot express the emotions I feel but I am just so grateful that Yeonmi shared her story.
Profile Image for Liz Janet.
579 reviews384 followers
February 23, 2016
We are always worried about a dystopia yet to come, without realizing, that in some places across the world, the system already exists.
There are two things to take from this book. 1) The struggle some people around the world have to endure compared to the relaxed lives we have, and 2) Human resilience can overcome all, and that in times of trouble, there will still be good people out there willing to help.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,513 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.