At nine years old, Yeonmi Park remembers the invitation to watch her best friend’s mother be murdered. As a child growing up in North Korea, executions were nothing new for this young girl. She recalls her mother carrying her piggback to sports arenas and public squares to watch the gruesome spectacles.
Yeonmi Park vividly recalls the horror of watching the executioners raise their guns, and murderer the woman she once knew. Escaping North Korea is a feat which this young woman has lived to tell. Author of In Order to Live: A North Korean’s Girl Journey to Freedom, Yeonmi recalls on the Reason that the concept for freedom was nothing short of foreign to her. Happiness was having food to eat each and every day.
Her story began on March 31, 2007 when she took her first steps across the frozen Yalu River with her mother. Arriving in China, she and her mother had no idea what they would do to survive. At 13, she had a lived a life most only see on the big screen. Crossing China, the Gobi desert and Mongolian border, she and her mother finally reached South Korea.
The strength this young woman was exhibited is nothing short of amazing. The unrelenting stress of trying to survive, and the untimely death of her father, only strengthened Yeonmi’s determination to have her story told.
This young woman’s thought-provoking story has evoked cries of North Korean refugees, as well as opened our eyes to the horrors that innocent victims suffer on a daily basis. Yeonmi hopes that her heart-wrenching tale of insane cruelty and survival will inspire change for all who are still kept imprisoned.