In Order to Live

In Order to Live Summary

“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.” - Yeonmi Park

"One of the most harrowing stories I have ever heard - and one of the most inspiring." - The Bookseller

“Park's remarkable and inspiring story shines a light on a country whose inhabitants live in misery beyond comprehension. Park's important memoir showcases the strength of the human spirit and one young woman's incredible determination to never be hungry again.” —Publishers Weekly

In In Order to Live, Yeonmi Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.

Park confronts her past with a startling resilience. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country. Park’s testimony is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.

Book Reviews


Why do I all of a sudden…5 star

Feel like I’ve taken a small trip to NK? Through Yeonmi’s writing, I now have a refined perspective on this world.55

Elijah Malcom

Amazing book5 star

Must read if you think you know about North Korea.55


Incredible book, incredible author. I couldn’t put it down.5 star

Even though I recently read A Girl With Seven Names I learned even more about the horrors of North Korea and China from this author. Anyone who cares about democracy and freedom must read both of these books.55

Helen Gould

Inspiring read!5 star

Couldn’t put it down! Amazing story told very well.55


Amazing Korean Woman5 star

What a dark and bright story. Read the book.55


Exposé and memoir - wonderfully written5 star

Excellent, detailed story that exposes the brutal, corrupt North Korean regime and demonstrates the human capacity for survival. A must read.55


Essential Reading for All who Love Justice5 star

So informative and impactful. Teachers, parents, professors and all Americans (and even anti -Americans) deserve to know the truth about human trafficking and other atrocities in China, N. Korea and other inhumane totalitarian states.55


Incredible read.5 star

Couldn’t put it down! Captivating and puts life in perspective. Hard to believe what some people go through.55

Hanna K. Russell

Life-changing5 star

I decided to read this book because I watched an interview video featuring Yeonmi Park. I was amazed by the pieces of her story in the film, so I decided I would read her autobiography. This book has changed my view of North Korea; I went from knowing almost nothing about it to having a much deeper understanding of what it is like there. It also broadened my view of China and South Korea, though less dramatically. I was in awe throughout the novel because of Yeonmi’s story, the terrible things that she overcame, and her passion for helping others despite what it may cost her. Her story is very inspiring, and I truly think that it is something everyone should read.55

DeDe Sattler

Wow5 star

This story is humbling, shocking and terrifying. Everyone should read this story and be aware of what life is like in North Korea.55

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