Category Archives: Book Adaptation

In Order To Live: The Captivating Story of A North Korean’s Escape

In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, among the top best-sellers worldwide, has captured the imaginations of countless readers. But what they may not know is that the 21 year old author, Yeonmi Park, didn’t even know what the word freedom meant while living in North Korea. She says that life consisted solely of trying to stay alive. Finally, when she was 13 years old, she and her mother escaped from North Korea, on March 31, 2007. They were guided by a team of human traffickers who occasionally smuggled people from North Korea to China as a side job. The two fugitives crossed the Yalu River in the dead of night in, reaching a temporary refuge in China without a very clear image of what to do next. Yeonmi and her mother stayed undercover in China until February 2009, when Yeonmi and he mother received aid from Christian missionaries and human rights activists to escape to Mongolia and from Mongolia to South Korea. But unfortunately, when they reached the border, the guards threatened to send them back. At this point, Yeonmi and her mother swore that they would kill themselves with the knives they carried rather than go back to China. The guards eventually relented and put the two in a detention center instead. On April 1, 2009, Yeonmi and her mother were inexplicably put on an airplane to fly to Seoul. The two initially had difficulty settling in South Korea, but eventually found jobs. In 2014, Yeonmi published her memoir. There have been many who criticize her story. Perhaps the largest critic is the North Korean government, who released a lengthy video discrediting many elements of her story. Yeonmi has stated on Youtube that she only changed a few minor details in the story to protect friends and family members who are still living in North Korea. She also admits that she may have made a few mistakes due to her not-to-firm grip on the English language. During a recent interview with Reason TV, Yeonmi said on Casey and Yeaonmi, “I know the truth of North Korea. The oppression and their tragedy. It cannot be silenced.”