Book Recommendation, Book Review

Yeonmi Park: In Order to Live

My editor told me, “Don’t recommend any other book but your own.” Makes sense from a business standpoint. However, I am a reader and a self-advocacy advocate. Any tools that help support and engage women in their own life journey toward self-care and empowerment are tools I want to review and share. So, here is my first Got It Girl Book Recommendation: In Order To Live by Yeonmi Park.

I found this book through my mom. She read this book in one day because she couldn’t put it down. My cute mom, who is 75 years old, described the book like this: “It is the story of this young lady who was sold into sex slavery but, when she was first raped, she fought like a cat … scratching and fighting. She had no idea what was happening. And then she talked this guy (who seemed kind of stupid) into helping her family. She was so smart!”

Hearing the words “sex slave” come out of my kids’ grandma’s mouth was a first for me.

I love North Korean escape stories so I went and got the book. It is good. My mom was right. I could not put it down.

As you can see from the cover, Yeonmi is a stunningly beautiful young woman. Yeonmi tells a fascinating tale of growing up under the horrible dictatorship of North Korea. She describes how they were taught to think, what they did for food, and the atrocities that were committed. Underneath the details and woven into the pages of this book, you feel Yeonmi’s determination and wisdom growing inside of her.

I recommend this book for 3 reasons:

1. To read about the people of North Korea and their community, their connections and their approach to life in a rigid and paranoid societal structure is fascinating. It definitely makes you grateful.

2. The way that Yeonmi’s family leans into each other is admirable and amazing. I was touched by the warmth and heart fullness that each family member had toward each other. Yeonmi’s mother is incredible in doing what needs to be done, even with a broken heart and spirit. The book provides a window into the greatness of people dealing with the worst parts of humanity.

3. I loved how Yeonmi fought back to find a good life for herself. Despite suffering horrible trauma, she searched for a way to get an education and a better place to live. She found creative ways to work around her situation to get what she knew she needed and wanted. And she didn’t do this through harming others in any way, which is very admirable. In addition, Yeonmi didn’t let the criticism of others stop her. I love that.

Got It Girl Takeway

The story kept me intrigued as good as any thriller. I wanted to know what happened next while reading every page. It was hard not to skip to the ending. To do so would have ruined the experience you can only get by reading the entire book. After all, the journey isn’t about the ending but how you got there.

Most importantly, Yeonmi casts off the shame that she felt about her circumstances. She was judged negatively by others as soon as anybody found out about what happened to her, especially the sex stuff. However, we live in a world where at least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.

And that is just it, things happen to us and we need to do what we can to create a good life out of what is left. Yeonmi has. I am grateful to have gotten a glimpse into her miraculous journey. Let her story inspire you and make you grateful.

You can buy Yeonmi’s book at Barnes and Noble or elsewhere. Tell me if you liked it.