Refugees often undergo a lot of brutality. Nothing depicts their plight better than Yeonmi Park’s heart wrenching Amazon best-selling book, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom”. The story is said in hard-hitting and fearless lines, which manage to clearly portray the injustices faced by child refugees in particular. In the book, Ms. Park states that she did not know what freedom is during her early years. The happiest thing to her was having a meal.
Yeonmi begins her Reason TV interview by detailing how she fled from her nation of birth, North Korea. This was in March 2007. At a tender age of thirteen, she had no idea about where she was headed to. She captures the attention of her readers when she details her escape from the country after crossing a freezing River Yalu late into the night. Getting into China, she came face to face with dreadful experiences, which are too harrowing for even an adult, let alone a thirteen year old.
A strong will to live is what kept this gritty girl going. Along the way, she met her father but unfortunately, he succumbed to undetected cancer. This lowered her life force and even made her to have suicidal thoughts. She however fought them off and kept journeying on. During the years-long journey across China, she was confronted by many challenges. Park had to withstand relentless hunger, emotional and physical abuse. She however managed to reach the Mongolian border, which paved way for her transit to South Korea.
One thing that stands out from the memoir is the author’s ability to keep readers on the edge. It is filled with suspense-filled lines, which keeps them wanting to read more of the story. It is no surprise that the book has become a blockbuster within a short time after its release. It has also catapulted a hitherto unknown refugee into international limelight. The press sees her as a savior to millions of North Koreans who have been for years oppressed by the tyrannical regime. The North Korean government has gone ahead to dismiss Yeonmi’s account as an exaggeration and has even labeled her a puppet of the West. Nonetheless, Yeonmi Park has managed to highlight the injustices going on in the county.