Book Review #140 – In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, by Yeonmi Park

Hey everyone!

Here is a review for a very hard read. It’s In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, by Yeonmi Park.

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‘I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.’

Yeonmi Park was not dreaming of freedom when she escaped from North Korea. She didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All she knew was that she was running for her life, that if she and her family stayed behind they would die – from starvation, or disease, or even execution.

This book is the story of Park’s struggle to survive in the darkest, most repressive country on earth; her harrowing escape through China’s underworld of smugglers and human traffickers; and then her escape from China across the Gobi desert to Mongolia, with only the stars to guide her way, and from there to South Korea and at last to freedom; and finally her emergence as a leading human rights activist – all before her 21st birthday.



  • enlightening story about life in North Korea
  • extremely painful to read
  • surprisingly hopeful, which made it inspiring



  • it’s hard to read
  • the more ceptics can questions some parts



After watching Yeonmi’s speech at the United Nations, I kept delaying this read because I know it would hurt like hell. North Korea feels so surreal, yet the pain these people go through is so unbelievably real. This isn’t about some fictional dystopia, it’s something happening to so many people right now. It’s really infuriating to read this, I can’t believe people live this way. But this isn’t necessarily always a sad book. Park’s strength and will are inspiring. She tells her tale with no shame, always hoping for something better ahead. I don’t think I could have gone through what she did and still have so much will to learn and become a better human. This is not necessarily the book I would be recommending to people who are just starting to read non fiction but it’s a very important book to someone who might want to become more aware of the world surrounding them.

This is a very relevant book for the times we’re living, unfortunately. Have you read it? What did you think?

See you soon,



2 thoughts on “Book Review #140 – In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, by Yeonmi Park

  1. I saw a video of her speaking some time ago, and I couldn’t believe her story. I had no idea she had written a book, what an amazing one! This seems like a must read for sure.


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