In Order to Live
Books | Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.” - Yeonmi Park"One of the most harrowing stories I have ever heard - and one of the most inspiring." - The Bookseller“Park's remarkable and inspiring story shines a light on a country whose inhabitants live in misery beyond comprehension. Park's important memoir showcases the strength of the human spirit and one young woman's incredible determination to never be hungry again.” —Publishers WeeklyIn In Order to Live, Yeonmi Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom. Park confronts her past with a startling resilience. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country. Park’s testimony is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
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"I’ve read a number of survival stories, but this one is up there for most extraordinary perseverance. Her story of escaping North Korea literally gets worse each step of the way. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in memoirs, particularly from oppressive countries and regimes. "
"The Monster of Eldendhaven is a deliciously perverse read about characters turned monsters from their insatiable thirst for vengeance. I had not the slightest clue of what this book was truly about, however, the synopsis intrigued me and it would have been a mistake on my part had I failed to pick it up. Giesbrecht crafts such a wondrously horrific world on the edge of its disappearance paired with lush and vivid prose. These two constituents were integral to the overall effect of the novel and paired with a wrenchingly depraved relationship made up for the lack of length and relatively abrupt ending. Johann, the literal portrayal of a monster and inhabitant of the shadows, delights in endeavors of turpitude for amusement all the while without purpose or direction. Florian, however, is a delicate man of echelon and thus, an unsuspected monster in his own right. The two are dichotomous but as fate would have it, are parts of a whole. Florian is set on burning the world with everyone in it while Johann ostensibly follows blindly. Although there is a power imbalance, the sheer tenderness of their dynamic conveys the loneliness and incompletion of their own highly flawed characters. I had initially believed that there was simply not enough time to establish a compelling relationship, however, I was confounded that I was nearly able to overlook this matter simply because the relationship was constructed with such a beautiful complexity that it made it riveting. The same can be said for the overall novella and I can confidently state that this book has become a contender for my favorite reads of 2022. "
"This was a highly anticipated read of mine and I was not disappointed. Yeonmi Park's book In Order to Live is an evocative and poignant autobiography of a young girl’s experience under North Korea’s repressive regime and her daunting journey to freedom. It may be a story that knows pain, misery and inhumanity but it simultaneously knows passion, love and perseverance. We perceive North Korea as a developing country controlled by dictators but cannot fathom the realities of its residents which Park sheds light on with vivid imagery and personal anecdotes. At parts, I forgot I was reading about a genuine nation, one that has oppressed its people for generations. The egregious conditions and level of corruption were akin to what I may find in a horrific dystopian novel but this is the reality of some 26 million people. However, the pain that Park describes could never be contrived like that of fictitious works. Her journey to freedom and the mental one subsequent, that led her to share her story with the world is incredibly inspiring and furthermore, the fact that Yeonmi and her mother managed to maintain their humanity and resilience through all the tribulation imposed upon them is truly miraculous. Overall an incredibly important and beautiful account of a North Korean girl’s story of survival. "