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A brilliant, gutwrenching, impossible to stop reading memoir. I learnt so much more about North Korea and life after that dreadful existence for it's defectors. A book that will open people's hearts to refugees from any oppressive and dangerous countries and reinforce how lucky those of us are to know nothing of such suffering and desperation first hand. The fortunate should always show compassion and help the unfortunate.....there but for the Grace of God....
I knew I was going to have trouble reading this book because I had already heard Yeonmi's story a few years earlier in an interview. Still, when I saw she had written a book I had to find out the full story.
Yeonmi’s is an inspirational story about not just overcoming the most brutal regime on the planet, but also the prejudices and personal challenges that followed after the harrowing journey. It opened my eyes to not only the treatment of North Koreans while in their home country, but also during and after their escape to freedom. Even if we have no power to change the regime in the short-term, we all have the power to improve the treatment of North Korean escapees.
I hope Yeonmi never gives up telling her story, as painful as it may be. She has now been thrust into a life of meaning and she should never stop pursuing justice. She is not only a voice for the North Korean people, but she’s a reminder to the west of what we have and what we need to protect: democracy.
PS: I was going to leave this out but I probably should mention it. This book made me contact a volunteer agency in South Korea (still waiting to hear back) to see if I could come do some volunteer work to help some North Korean people integrate into their new lives. I'm not sure what I can offer as I don't speak Korean (I'm now trying to learn), but having read about their treatment, even after overcoming everything they have to, I had to see if I could do something. I had originally thought that South Koreans greet North Koreans as if they were their long lost family members, unfortunately this book made me realise my rose-coloured view of the world was completely wrong. So Yeonmi can add one more person/thing to the list of real changes she's made just by telling her story. It is a story worth telling.
We need books like this to be read in our schools and universities so that everyone can understand the horrors that still go on in this world in places such as North Korea today in this world where so many take life and pleasure as their right. This is an amazing true story of a very courageous young girl. It made me cry but also gave me so much pleasure to see what she has achieved. You are an incredible young lady Yeonmi Park. Thank you for telling your story.
This book gives us an inside of the brutalities and atrocities of the North Korean regime and the bravery of a beautiful family protecting each other. Members of this family eventually escape to the South becoming the voice of all their friends and the people left behind.
From start to finish this story held my attention - the brutality the author, her family and most of the general population of North Korea endure is something which is difficult to comprehend. Beautifully written and deeply enjoyed.
Yeonmi Park is an amazing young woman, her story of North Koreans suffering under a hateful dynasty and her desperate road to freedom. Is moving and inspirational. I hope her voice will get stronger and stronger. 10 out 10 read.