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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.

This book 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.

©2015 Penguin Books Ltd (P)2015 Penguin Books Ltd

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What listeners say about In Order to Live

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Moved beyond words

What a deeply impacting story! Yeonmi Park - thank you for being completely vulnerable with your story and recognising the potential of how this can effect change across the world including your home of North Korea.

3 people found this helpful

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Absolutely, mind-blowingly powerful

An incredibly emotional story brimming with pain and compassion. It feels as if you are transported directly into Yeonmi's life and experience her traumas with her.

2 people found this helpful

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perfect if you wish to know more about north korea

such an incredible story. if you are curious about north korea this is for you.

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Extremely interesting story

I found this story so interesting. Quite an eye opener and very sad realizing it's still going on today no doubt.
Very well spoken and read.

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Wow what a story. Yeonmi Pak is inspirational.

Wow what a story. Yeonmi Pak is inspirational and courageous. I have read many books like this and this was up there with the best of them. She shows her flaws and depth as a human and the nuances of people she met along the way. The horrors she survived are unthinkable yet she writes about them with humility and shows such empathy for other humans. The story is difficult to read in parts but leaves you feeling a sense of wonder at her and others strength, proud and heartwarmed for where she is at now and grateful for all of the things we take for granted in developed countries. Highly recommend for anyone that wants to learn more about North Korea, human trafficking or anyone who likes reading inspiring stories about surviving.

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Eye-opening, captivating story

My world is bigger because of this book. My eyes were opened to the level of mind control by the north Korean government and trafficking in China. How dignity and expressing emotions were not things that every human believed they had a right to. I had never considered the reality of adjusting to a free life, not just practically but changing your mindset that you need to think for yourself. Highly recommended for those who want to expand their view and put their own world in perspective!

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One of the best books you can listen to on audible

This book is life changing. Or at least, it will change the way you see your life.

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A story to be heard in full from the woman herself

A tale of unimaginable terrors as a girl in her first year of teen-hood fleeing one trauma after another and struggling to adapt to South Korea life and then thriving.

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Read this book.

Read this book. It will open your eyes. A remarkable person. A must read. Please.

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Great read

I don't really know how to review this book. I felt the same way after reading 'Uneducated' by Tara Westover. It is very hard to review someone's life.

This is well written, and my first biography of of a North Korean defector. I was very interested in the lives of people in North Korea, and the escape into China.

I do believe that some of the story may have been embellished to sell books, as some of the events seemed contradictory, missing information or just plain didn't make sense.

However, I did very much enjoy this account.

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Profile Image for Sylvia Green
  • Sylvia Green
  • 02-09-2017

A book we should all read

What made the experience of listening to In Order to Live the most enjoyable?

The narrator made it more natural and took you right into the feelings involved

What did you like best about this story?

How much I learned and realised about a regime that expects worship at the expense of life

Which character – as performed by Eji Kim – was your favorite?

Obviously the main character, the whole book revolved round her, and her intelligence came through and thankfully she survived to help and inform all of us

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think it was when she found her sister, I had tears in my eyes

Any additional comments?

I would tell everyone to read this, we need to understand how lucky we are to live in a country with freedom, freedom we should never take for granted. But for the grace of God we could have been born into such a country.

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  • Jennifer Elliott
  • 06-06-2021

A monument to the human spirit!

An amazing story, has me be grateful for t the country I live in. So when will we stop bowing to China!

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  • Basil
  • 14-01-2018

Heart wrenching, educational, must read.

A story that's incredibly difficult to hear but one that is important and will illustrates painfully and beautifully the human instinct to survive and protect those you love. must read.

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  • April
  • 24-12-2015

In Order To Live Review

This memoir is the most moving and inspiring piece of literature I have read to date.
Yeonmi Park has the beautiful talent of giving light and hope to those who have had similar struggles to her. She does not hold back when it comes to explaining her struggles, she tells it as it happened and lets the dark reality stand for itself. It is a real gift to be able to shine light on situations such as Yeonmi's, and still be able to say that there is so much more to be done.

Who Kim's performance was down to earth and bare. She kept the integrity of Yeonmi's memories and told her story with care and honesty. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I would highly recommend listening to this audiobook. I have never felt so moved or inspired by a piece of writing before. I congratulate Yeonmi's courage and bravery. A must read from me.

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  • Chris S
  • 01-01-2019

Performance ruins the story

I’ve just started listening to this, very excited in this festive period to sit down and take in the journey. Who made the decision to cast Eji Kim, her English isn’t good enough for audiobooks; it creates a disconnect between the listener and the story.

I genuinely feel robbed. I sit here feeling like I have lost out because of Eji Kim.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Eleanor
  • 29-10-2015

Fantastic

So interesting and amazing that we are starting to listen to the stories of these refugees. Would highly recommend

5 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Anderson
  • 18-03-2016

An amazing story let down in parts by flat delivery

The story is excellent, and a real eye opener into the workings of North Korea. It's harrowing, gripping and very difficult to stop listening to. However, the narration of the story is in a very monotonous manner, with very little emotion in the speakers voice. While this does, in places, reflect the story well, it is very difficult to concentrate on a story being told this way for long periods of time. I found myself drifting on several occasions and it was difficult to keep focuses. A more emotive delivery from a similar speaker would improve the overall result vastly.

4 people found this helpful

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  • d
  • 29-11-2015

informative story well told

Where does In Order to Live rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

memorable

What did you like best about this story?

the insight into north Korea, the regime, everyday life and the treatment of immigrants in China

Would you listen to another book narrated by Eji Kim?

her narrative was a bit jarring but was acceptable due to the fact it was a Korean story

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kathryn de Ferrer
  • 29-11-2015

A Powerful story

Would you listen to In Order to Live again? Why?

Initially the narrator's voice took some getting used to, but as the story was revealed the slightly halting delivery seemed appropriate. This is an astounding story and shows just what the human spirit is capable of. It makes for compulsive listening, it genuinely was a story I could not stop listening to - I have now bought the book for my daughter to read.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Yeonmi - for her spirit, her determination and single-mindedness.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely

Any additional comments?

This is an extremely important book, which opens a tiny window into the closed horrific regime of North Korea.

4 people found this helpful

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  • mlam
  • 28-01-2018

If you persevere with the narrator ...

That accent and monotone of the narrator can be quite distracting
because I found myself at times having to focus on what the narrator was saying that I became obsessed with her pronunciation rather than focusing on the poignant account of the author’s ordeal. However, I persevered and learned a lot from listening to this book about the oppressive regime of North Korea , the Chinese approach towards illegal immigrants and South Korean attitude towards North Korean refugees.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 25-10-2017

Great story, but shame about the voiceover

amazing story, but the narrator has a strong accent which does make difficult to understand at times.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Konrad
  • 19-07-2021

something needs to be done...incredible book

the people in North Korea need to be helped. truly breathtaking book.hard to believe this stuff still happens in the 21st century

1 person found this helpful

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  • AmieMonica
  • 02-06-2021

Highly inspirational and moving.

Our salvation lies within the stories we tell in order to live.
Free North Korea!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Louisa
  • 30-06-2016

Excellent and fascinating

Among the biographies and non fictions audiobooks I have listened to this is one of the best although I did have some difficulty with the reader whose accent was rather pronounced. One does get used to the voice and then the story is quite gripping and very surprising. This young woman is ambitious and admirable and I would recommend the book to anybody who is interested in North Korea and the effects of extreme communism on the human psyche. My recommendation is don't be put off by the reader and if you persist you will learn much that is both surprising and appalling.

1 person found this helpful