In 2015, Penguin Press published a book with a shocking and unraveling story about North Korea, its regime and an escape which is near impossible. A book that shook the readers, woke them up and inspired people all over the world. And after reading it myself, I decided to review the book, called In Order to Live. Read on to find out my opinion & the summary. 

‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live’

– Joan Didion

So, what is the book about? 

In Order to Live tells the story of a 13-year old Yeonmi and her family who are trying to flee their country, North Korea, which is positioned next to South Korea and China.

Image result for north korea map

It is an extremely difficult trip and if you have ever read anything about the country, you know that the dictator, Kim Jong-un, is starving his people and mistreating them. They are spoilt with propaganda, as well and fleeing is near impossible. With a lot of detours, failures and losses of loved ones, the family travels around in hope of an escape to another country. Yeonmi’s family, friends and herself have to go through extreme pain, mentally and physically, and add that pain to the question if they will ever even escape or forever be stuck in North Korea, this story is interesting and nerve-wracking. 

And what did I think of In Order to Live?

Yeonmi Park tells her own story with such extensiveness, you can’t help but feel every single emotion she has felt. She tells this story with such courage and you see what sadness & fear can bring to a person, namely courage and strength. It must have been terrifying to write and publish such an honest and groundbreaking book, but she has nailed it perfectly. This story & her way of telling it definitely opens your eyes about a country so mysterious yet terrifying. Her writing also takes you on the actual journey and when I read it, I finished it in 4 days. Yeonmi Park got me hooked from the beginning.

Because of the realness of the story, you continuously want to read on and you want to know what happened. Park makes you curious to the ending as she adds great cliffhangers and beautiful endings to chapters, as well.


A strong and groundbreaking book with much emotion that forces you to feel everything and to experience everything Yeonmi Park and her family experienced too. 

Image result for yeonmi park
Yeonmi Park after releasing her book, In Order to Live.

After writing this review and re-reading a couple of pages, I want to read In Order to Live again. Besides the horrible but inspiring story, her artwork really captured me and her writing style is astonishing for someone whose first language is not english. 

Visit Yeonmi’s Park Twitter here

Have you read or are you planning on reading In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park? Or do you have anything else to tell? Feel free to send me a message or comment, I’d love to hear from you! 


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