Want to know details on what’s going on in North Korea? Read IN ORDER TO LIVE: A NORTH KOREAN GIRL’S JOURNEY TO FREEDOM by Yeonmi Park.
This is a horrifying book. It begins in North Korea, where Yeonmi’s family cannot get ahead because they’re in the wrong political “caste,” and where their straits are increasingly dire. There’s a famine. There’s the arrest of Yeonmi’s enterprising father, who was utilizing some unorthodox methods to make ends meet. There are problems regarding the bribing of officials, medical staff, train conductors, and all sorts of people. North Korea is a country where just about everybody who works anywhere has got their hands out in some direction, often, as in the case of the medical personnel little Yeonmi had to contend with when she was in the hospital, expecting a payoff simply for doing their jobs.
But just when you think the girl’s problems might be over after she crosses a frozen river on a cold winter night and escapes to China, they don’t! It’s when she and her mother leave North Korea behind, and wind up in China as illegal aliens, that even more horrors begin…
As always, I don’t want to add any spoilers and reveal too much of the rest of the story. I just want to recommend it, and add that it’s a “doozie.” Read it if you’re not faint of heart and want to find out more about what the North Koreans go through.
God bless Yeonmi and her family, and the people they left behind in North Korea as well.
And P.S.: Shame on China for not doing a whole lot more to help North Korean economic refugees! The horrors the illegal North Koreans were put through would not exist if China would have the balls to show them some mercy. Come on, China – step up to the plate!