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Book Review: In Order To Live

May 17, 2022

“In Order To Live” has been in my “To Read” pile for months. I don’t remember where I saw the recommendation, but it was inspiring enough that I bought the book, sight unseen.

The recommendation was right.

The paperback version of the book is 267 pages long. And yet, it felt like 50. The story flowed effortlessly. And yet, the details were horrific. Like being in a very comfortable canoe. . .while plunging over a 100 foot waterfall.

It’s fitting that Yeonmi Park wrote a book. Because she is the kind of person you typically only read about in books. “In Order To Live” tells the story of Park’s escape from North Korea and the journey that took her as a 13 year old child through China, Mongolia and finally South Korea. The journey cost her family, money and most of all her innocence.

Park’s experience and her determination to survive no matter the cost is a story that can inspire all of us. No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, Park gives us an inspiring example of how sheer determination can help carry you through even the worst experiences.

What I Liked

Park’s voice is simple and powerful. Written in collaboration with Maryanne Vollers, the narrative moves seamlessly from episode to episode. Park shares enough detail to make the story engaging without becoming overly dramatic. The picture she paints of North Korea is one that we in the West know is true, but don’t often hear about. It’s a powerful story, powerfully told.

What I Didn’t

This is a memoir. A personal story and Park rarely strays too far from that personal narrative. It does not delve too much into the politics involved. We also don’t hear how Park eventually ends up in the United States. It’s not so much a criticism as an observation.

What It Means To You

Park’s story is important to the world. And it can be valuable to you as well. The truth of the atrocities in North Korea will eventually shed a light on the Hermit Kingdom. However, if you are a victim of domestic violence, domestic abuse or sexual abuse, Park’s story will be hard to read.

My Rating

Four out of Four Stars

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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