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  • In Order to Live

  • A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom
  • Written by: Yeonmi Park
  • Narrated by: Eji Kim
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (385 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In In Order to Live, Yeonmi Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea - and to freedom.

Park confronts her past with a startling resilience. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country. Park’s testimony is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.

©2015 Yeonmi Park (P)2015 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"One of the most harrowing stories I have ever heard - and one of the most inspiring." (The Bookseller)

“Park's remarkable and inspiring story shines a light on a country whose inhabitants live in misery beyond comprehension. Park's important memoir showcases the strength of the human spirit and one young woman's incredible determination to never be hungry again.” (Publishers Weekly)

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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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An Amazing Story of Survival and Resilience

I have to say, this is an amazing and fast-paced story of life in North Korea, the author and her family’s escape to China and eventually to South Korea through Mongolia. It also details her life after her escape, adjusting to the “21st century” as she refers to it.

I give this book 5 stars because of the story and authentic performance - also it is an insiders look at North Korea.

For those who did not like the narrator - I think there is a fine balance between being over dramatic and monotone. My perspective in this case is that she struck the right balance - an overly dramatic tone would have come across as campy/corny.

For those who did not like the narrator because of her accent - I actually think the accent of the narrator (a mix of a British and Asian accent) added further authenticity to the story. I think the story would have seemed fake and some of the serious parts would have been less impactful had the narrator had a traditional Western Canadian/American accent.

I bring this up because I almost did not buy the book given the poor reviews re: the narration - which I think are unfounded - for those who are hesitant, the Audible sample provides an excellent example of what the listener can expect.

4 people found this helpful

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Eye opening

I just finished the whole book. It is so painful and melancholy but I listened to it because I took it as my responsibility to listen to it when so many have to live through it. It truly makes me grateful for all that I have. Thank you, Park Yeonmi. Thank you for being brave and telling your story. I will never forget it.

4 people found this helpful

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Incredible Story!

I absolutely loved this book. I’m heartbroken that Yeonmi had to live such an experience but so happy she made it out to tell her story. Her story must be heard. I finished this book quickly it was so well written.

2 people found this helpful

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Regardless of your Political leanings. Listen!

It took some Communist bot on Instagram to slander her. In order for me to ask "What is her story?" Listening to her was an awakening about the realities and wrong assumptions about China & North Korea. Despite what the bots said. I heard no lies here.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the most important contemporary biographies

This was an astonishing insight into one of the most corrupt countries and the cancerous ideology that is afflicting the rest of the world. I truly consider this woman a role model and I hope her story inspires others.

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Life Changing.

Life changing. Inspirational. I think Everyone should read this book. Especially in North America at this point in time.

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Heart wrenching

I cried and had shivers many times. It is very well written I could not stop listening.

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Eye opening

It’s hard to accept that such horrors exist in this day and age. Yeonmi Park is more than brave. What’s happening in North Korea needs to be exposed and ended.

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Incredible. a must read!!!

this was such a wonderful, well written, brave, eye opening and inspiring book. thank you Yeonmi Park for sharing your story with the world.

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So much in life, we take for granted…

I feel like I just want to give this woman a big hug for everything people like her, have (& still are) going threw in dictatorship run socialist countries.
I first heard Yeonmi’s story on the Joe Rogan podcast & it crushed my heart to learn how bad it really is in countries like North Korea, (even now) but also the unfortunate truth about human trafficking where women are sold into sex slavery.
We always hear about these things but I think it is easy to put up blinders to what is actually happening around the world when we live in a free & prosperous society. Its also not hard to believe how these tyrannical governments hide the facts from the media to protect their own appearance & propaganda.
If you’ve read this book & want to hear more, including how some people in America even have been horrible to Yeonmi in the name of selfish “wokeness” since.
Check out her interview on the Joe Rogan podcast.
#animalfarm #1984 #joeroganexperience

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  • Jfm
  • 2016-02-01

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.

76 people found this helpful

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  • Janis Creason
  • 2016-09-05

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!!

48 people found this helpful

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  • Karel Doorman
  • 2016-05-12

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.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 2015-10-01

Satisfactory Story Marred by Atrocious Narration

Who on earth let this cat out of the bag?!?
Okay, let me start again. This was a Pre-Order with no chance to hear a sample, but I'm doing research on North Korea and, especially, defectors. So I snapped this book up with joy. And it's a fair enough story, I mean, it covers all the bases, but if you've heard some of the other books, you've heard this one. This one does, however, touch on the trafficking of women which I hadn't heard before and which is interesting, angering, shocking, and which makes you want to do something. Of course, and this is no spoiler, Yeonmi witnesses her mother's brutal rape and then is very blase about it all... even tho' she's a teenager and is no longer naive.
That's one of the aggravating things about the book: The complete and utter lack of reaction, the lack of willingness to take responsibility, to show emotion, to try at times. I'm going to be generous and chalk it up to being raised in a country where you're flat-out told what to think, what to feel, what to choose every single moment of your life. Yes?
Okay, now back to the REALLY aggravating bit about the book: Who thought the narrator could read?!? This was the most halting, choppy, emotionless delivery of what should've been a breathtaking and heartfelt story.
The story kept me going.
The narration damned near killed me.
Sample it well before purchase, I beg of you. Don't pull your hair out as I did...
For more audiobook reviews, of all genres, visit Audiobook Accomplice

29 people found this helpful

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  • A. Munday
  • 2015-10-17

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!

28 people found this helpful

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  • Larry H.
  • 2017-06-06

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.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Jay Sylvano
  • 2018-08-20

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.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 2018-01-28

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.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Carlos
  • 2016-03-24

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.

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Meagan vR
  • 2016-02-24

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!)

14 people found this helpful