The Ordeal of Yeonmi Park: Fact or Fiction?

Thousands of people have read the true story of Yeonmi Park. They cannot believe the horror she lived in North Korea and during her escape to freedom in South Korea. She chronicles the incredible events that took place during those years in her book In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. Yeonmi and her family lived under a dictator’s rule in North Korea. Poverty, lack of food and desperation were experienced every day. She was thirteen years old when she and her mother secretly left the country in 2007. They endured starvation, abuse, and thoughts of suicide during the years of their journey. They traveled through China, the Gobi desert, Mongolian border and finally their destination of South Korea. She and her mother finally found freedom but without her father. He died due to untreated cancer shortly before reaching their goal. According to the article on (, skeptics like Pyongyang have tried to discredit parts of her story. Yeonmi and her mother have been accused of being American agents or liars exaggerating tales about their native country. Yeonmi sticks to what she has written and explains that some details were modified to protect family who still live in the country. Other statements that have been misunderstood are a result of her inability to speak proper English when writing the memoir. She and her mother were victims of sexual abuse. Even though the events were no fault of their own, Yeonmi Park still feels shame for herself and family from what happened. She preferred to remain vague when describing the violations since she was only thirteen years old when they occurred. There are thousand of refugees who have escaped North Korea due to political persecution and abuse. For Yeonmi to exaggerate the truth would void the credibility of what these escapees suffered. She and others like her know the true facts about North Korea. They are going public with their stories so the entire world knows.