In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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 to South Korea through China's underworld of smugglers and human traffickers; and her emergence as a leading human rights activist - all before her 21st birthday.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 37 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||29 September 2015|
|Publisher||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 1,965 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
1 in Refugee Studies
2 in Biographies of Activists
2 in Fascism
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Top reviews from Australia
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Yeonmi’s is an inspirational story about not just overcoming the most brutal regime on the planet, but also the prejudices and personal challenges that followed after the harrowing journey. It opened my eyes to not only the treatment of North Koreans while in their home country, but also during and after their escape to freedom. Even if we have no power to change the regime in the short-term, we all have the power to improve the treatment of North Korean escapees.
I hope Yeonmi never gives up telling her story, as painful as it may be. She has now been thrust into a life of meaning and she should never stop pursuing justice. She is not only a voice for the North Korean people, but she’s a reminder to the west of what we have and what we need to protect: democracy.
PS: I was going to leave this out but I probably should mention it. This book made me contact a volunteer agency in South Korea (still waiting to hear back) to see if I could come do some volunteer work to help some North Korean people integrate into their new lives. I'm not sure what I can offer as I don't speak Korean (I'm now trying to learn), but having read about their treatment, even after overcoming everything they have to, I had to see if I could do something. I had originally thought that South Koreans greet North Koreans as if they were their long lost family members, unfortunately this book made me realise my rose-coloured view of the world was completely wrong. So Yeonmi can add one more person/thing to the list of real changes she's made just by telling her story. It is a story worth telling.
One strange thing about living in North Korea; if you live in a high-rise building, the higher up you go, the poorer you are. As there is no (reliable) electricity, rich people live on the ground floor, and the poor have to trudge up stairs to the 8th floor. What a concept.
This a brilliant, fascinating story of one girl's escape and if nothing else will leave you feeling grateful for the many things we take for granted in the free world.
Top reviews from other countries
Don't get me wrong, it's a good book. It's well written and Yeonmi's story is at times emotional and gripping. Yet at other times, it's an accounting that is not as interesting as I wanted it to be. Honestly, part II and III of the book are most outstanding. Her and her mothers hardships in China, the search for her sister and how hard it is for North Koreans once they're out of North Korea (with no understanding of the world beyond their indoctrinated view of NK and the 'enemies' outside) is a gripping and insightful read and should be read by anyone with interest in what happens 'after North Korea'. The (re)introduction process into South Korea's society and her subsequent actions to create awareness around NK is an interesting read as well.
Overall, a great book on everything "after NK", and a good book on "inside NK", but if you want to know more about inside NK, also do read "Dear Leader" and "Escape from Camp 14" for two excellent viewpoints of two ends of life in North Korea.
As for the one, who was born and raised in Soviet Union, it greatly reminded me of my childhood. Thankfully, I experienced no famine, but shortage of everything and luck of necessities was there. Plus, the communist propaganda.
My maternal grand-grand-parents were of Russian nobles, they were killed by bolsheviks. My grandma was not allowed to go to university , because of her upbringing. My father was jailed by communists, because he made a joke about communist leaders.
I think this book is very important, especially for the youth these days, who think that socialism is a bliss.
It will open their eyes and hopefully change their perspectives.
Reviewed in the United States on 8 October 2020