In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom on goodreads.com is a riveting account of author Yeonmi Park’s flight to freedom. Yeonmi emphasized her lack of familiarity with or what freedom was and she spoke more of the joy of having something to eat. Her account of her journey has piqued the curiosity of millions around the world. Trapped behind the atrocities of the Pyongyang regime, she and her mother made a bold and daring escape attempt on the evening of March 31, 2007.
Under the cloak of darkness, Yeonmi Park, age thirteen and her mother made a run for China on the other side of the frozen Yalu River. They had no plan in place except to get beyond the territorial border of North Korea. Relieved that they had made it to China, their journey was just beginning and would take years before finding freedom in South Korea. Their adventure would take years and have them traversing the China landscape and the Gobi desert to the Mongolian border, where they boarded a plane to Seoul. Her Father has crossed the Yalu River a bit after Yeonmi Park and her Mother and joined them but perished a few months later due to cancer.
Yeonmi Park endured long periods of starvation and relished whatever food she was able to obtain living in North Korea. As much as individuals valued freedom, Yeonmi’s thoughts focused on her will to live despite starvation. She saw freedom as an avenue to continue living. “My father died without knowing even this kind of democracy exists in the world,” Yeonmi Park commented in an interview with Reason TV. “He didn’t even know this much food was available in the world.”
The North Korean News calls Yeonmi Park’s account pure fiction and accuses her of being a United States agent. They have labeled her a celebrity defector and produced a video documentary countering her statements made in the book. Yeonmi contends all statements are the truth with some claims altered to protect family members in North Korea from being harassed and tortured.