In Order to Live

"In Order to Live book: Explore a gripping memoir by Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector's journey to freedom. Discover the harrowing realities of life in North Korea and the incredible strength of the human spirit in this powerful narrative."
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“In Order to Live” is a gripping memoir written by Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector who escaped from the oppressive regime in her homeland to find freedom. This compelling book offers readers a firsthand account of the harrowing experiences she endured as a young girl and the incredible journey she embarked on to secure her freedom. Through her powerful narrative, Yeonmi sheds light on the grim realities of life in North Korea, human trafficking, and the indomitable spirit of survival. The book not only serves as a captivating memoir but also as a testament to the strength of the human spirit.


Yeonmi Park’s memoir takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster, chronicling her life from a relatively normal childhood in North Korea to her daring escape and eventual resettlement in South Korea and later the United States.

Born in the city of Hyesan, North Korea, Yeonmi grew up in a society where the government controlled every aspect of her life. She experienced poverty, hunger, and the constant fear of punishment for even the slightest infractions. Her awakening to the harsh realities of North Korea came when she witnessed her mother and sister being raped by Chinese traffickers during their escape to China. This traumatic event marked the beginning of her journey to freedom.

Yeonmi and her mother embarked on a treacherous journey across the Gobi Desert, facing extreme weather conditions and the constant threat of capture. They endured physical and emotional hardships that would break most people, but their determination to survive kept them going. The memoir describes their encounters with human traffickers, the kindness of strangers, and the constant fear of deportation back to North Korea.

Upon reaching South Korea, Yeonmi and her mother had to adapt to a new way of life, one filled with its own set of challenges. They had to navigate the complexities of resettlement, learn a new language, and confront the trauma of their past. Yeonmi’s journey didn’t end with reaching South Korea; she continued her education and advocacy work, shedding light on the atrocities committed in North Korea.


“In Order to Live” has received widespread acclaim for its raw and honest portrayal of Yeonmi Park’s life and the issues she addresses. Critics and readers alike have praised the book for its eye-opening narrative and its ability to raise awareness about the plight of North Koreans. Here are some notable reviews:

The New York Times: “A heart-wrenching and inspirational memoir that offers a rare glimpse into the brutal realities of life in North Korea. Yeonmi Park’s story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”

The Guardian: “A gripping and emotional journey of survival, “In Order to Live” shines a light on the hidden world of North Korea and the struggles faced by its people. Yeonmi Park’s courage in sharing her story is truly remarkable.”

Oprah Winfrey: “Yeonmi Park’s memoir is a powerful reminder of the importance of freedom and the lengths one can go to attain it. Her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, and it will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.”


“In Order to Live” is filled with poignant and thought-provoking quotes that capture the essence of Yeonmi Park’s journey and the larger themes of the book. Here are some notable quotes:

“I had crossed the Gobi Desert, in the dead of night, at twenty years old, in search of freedom. I couldn’t see beyond the sand, but I knew it was out there, and I knew I was willing to die to find it.”

“Freedom is not something that can be given or taken away. It is something we must fight for, even if it means risking everything.”

“In North Korea, we were taught to fear the outside world, but it was the outside world that ultimately saved us.”

“Survival is not just about staying alive; it’s about preserving your humanity in the face of unimaginable cruelty.”


Q : What motivated Yeonmi Park to write “In Order to Live”?
A : Yeonmi Park was inspired to write her memoir to shed light on the harsh realities of life in North Korea and to raise awareness about the human rights abuses occurring there. She also wanted to share her personal journey of survival and resilience as a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Q : How did Yeonmi and her mother escape from North Korea?
A : Yeonmi and her mother escaped from North Korea by crossing the border into China. Their journey was perilous, involving a dangerous trek across the Gobi Desert and encounters with human traffickers. They risked their lives in search of freedom.

Q : What impact has “In Order to Live” had on raising awareness about North Korea?
A : The book has had a significant impact on raising awareness about the plight of North Koreans and the human rights abuses in North Korea. It has drawn attention to the need for international intervention and support for defectors and refugees.

“In Order to Live” is a powerful and moving memoir that offers a glimpse into a world few have experienced. Yeonmi Park’s courage and determination to escape from North Korea and share her story have made her an advocate for human rights, and her book continues to inspire readers around the world. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the human spirit’s capacity to endure and triumph in the face of adversity.