• In Order to Live

  • A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom
  • By: Yeonmi Park
  • Narrated by: Eji Kim
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Categories: History, Asia
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (1,537 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

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.

In Order to Live 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.

Park was born to a family of civil servants in the North Korean city of Hyesan, along the Chinese border. She grew up in a society in which the regime controls everything you do, everything you learn, where you go, what you say, even what you think. In this warped world, famine was a way of life and minor offenses, such as watching foreign videos, could prove fatal.

Park's family was relatively privileged until her father, a party member, was arrested for smuggling. After that, life in North Korea became a ceaseless battle against starvation. Escaping with her mother, Park began a long journey of unspeakable hardship and degradation through China and Mongolia, which finally yielded her freedom in South Korea. Today, Park is an influential leader of the younger generations of Korean dissidents and an internationally recognized advocate for human rights around the world.

In the end, In Order to Live is about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love to overcome the most ghastly horrors and the most hopeless circumstances. "I had to learn how to love others," says Yeonmi Park. "And now I am willing to die for them."

©2015 Yeonmi Park (P)2015 Penguin Audio

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What listeners say about In Order to Live

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow. What a story!

Please do not shy away from this book based on the part that audible lets you listen to as a sample. While the reader does speak with an accent, the story flows so nicely and is so captivating that once you listen to even half of one chapter you will not even think of the accent. It's very understandable and I think it helps relate to the writer even more because you are hearing it in an Asian accent.

This story is honestly one of the most incredible, sad, captivating, amazing stories I have ever heard in my life. It is a real emotional roller coaster. Yeonmi Park is now a personal hero of mine and I wish there were more chapters in this book to read because I did not want to finish listening. I have been browsing YouTube and listening to her speeches. What an absolutely amazing young girl. I cannot imagine anyone going through what she has gone through.

Definitely listen to this book. You will not regret it. This story needs to be heard by every single person in the world.

31 people found this helpful

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A Truly Inspirational Account

In Order to Live is an emotional account of a young girl's experience of escape from the extreme poverty and political repression in North Korea. Others have criticised the choice of narrator for the audiobook, but I must disagree with them. I found the narrator's Korean accent was not too difficult to understand and enabled me to connect with the story in a way which I would not have if the narrator had been American or British. I thoroughly recommend this audiobook to anyone who is interested in a personal account of life in North Korea and the journey to freedom from it.

16 people found this helpful

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Moving, insightful, inspiring

I avoided listening to Ms. Parks story for several months because I was concerned it would be too sad and depressing. While it is sad, it is more inspirational and a great gift to the reader. Facing what she and her family did, anyone should be motivated to tackle any and all obstacles in their lives with determined resolve. The book is tastefully written. It seemed like the narration would be annoying at first, but I came to love the narrators voice by the end of the first chapter. EXCELLENT!!

27 people found this helpful

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Great book<br />

One of the best books I've ever read. Not a dull paragraph in this whole book. Im going to read it again. We are so fortunate to live in the USA. You think you know about north korea, well you dont until.you read this very informative book. Thank you Yeonmi Park for writing this story. Best of.luck to you, your sister and mother.

7 people found this helpful

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An important story and a powerful performance

We very rarely get to hear the accounts of young women from North Korea who are trafficked and end up living as undocumented sex slaves in China, because they rarely escape. This account from a young woman who went through it and found freedom is commendable and beautifully written. Don’t let the narrator’s accent put you off. It can be a bit jarring at first because her annunciation and pronunciation is different, but it will grow on you, and in the end it adds to the story.

6 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

Incredible story. I wish Americans cherished freedom and liberty as much as Ms Parks and guarded against their erosion by governments.

I'm left feeling helpless regarding the people of N Korea. How can we help end this madness?

Well done Ms Parks!

20 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

This was a phenomenal book. Worth every penny! The narration is okay and lends to the numb feeling that Yeonmi describes. I listened to the book in a week (and I NEVER do that!) because I just couldn't put it down.

5 people found this helpful

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Narrator difficult to understand

I’m sure this is a great story, and I plan on reading it versus listening to it. The narration from the start is difficult to understand. And like a few other reviews said, the narrator spoke with no emotion when very difficult scenes were depicted.

4 people found this helpful

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Narration very bad

Stuck with it for an hour but couldn't listen anymore. The story I'm sure is fantastic but the narration is terrible. I returned it. (Thank you great listen guarantee!)

9 people found this helpful

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Inspiring story of overcoming multiple tragedies

In Order to Live is the story of both the desperate lives of the citizens of North Korea and one young woman's success against great odds. The book is a personal memoir of a 21 year old. I usually view personal memoirs of people less than 70 years old to be audacious, but Yeonmi Park's story is one that needs to be told and listened to.

There have been some complaints about the narration because it is delivered with a strong Korean accent. I my view that accent adds to the story.

13 people found this helpful