I first came across Yeonmi Park through this video, where she gave a speech in One Young World’s convention. It took me a long while to gather my courage to read her memoir, which is not for the faint hearted. But, then I said to myself, if she endured all that when she was only 13 years old, reading her book was the least I could do.
Park escaped North Korea with her mother when she was only 13, with no money, no other family, no support. With only HOPES for a better life. Her never ending HOPE in believing there’s more to life than what she was born into, is what this book is all about.
“Along my journey I have seen the horrors that humans can inflict on one another, but I’ve also witnessed acts of tenderness and kindness and sacrifice in the worst imaginable circumstances. I know that it is possible to lose part of your humanity in order to survive. But I also know that the spark of human dignity is never completely extinguished, and that given the oxygen of freedom and the power of love, it can grow again.”
This memoir is not only impactful because of its content, it’s also impactful because of Park’s natural ability for writing, for expressing her thinking and emotions in such an exquisite way. Her words punch you in the face, and sucks you in the book like a vacuum. If I needed to highlight the parts of the parts impacted me, probably I would need to fill the whole book with lines. So, I gave up.
Her journey, which started from North Korea takes place until she ends up in South Korea. In this journey, you will find an innocent little girl trying to run for a better life with all that she can do within her power, turning into a very strong woman. And in the end, after completing her education in South Korea, with all the ambition she has, she decides to share her extraordinary life with the world to make a difference for the others who stayed behind.
“As North Koreans, we were innocent in a way that I cannot fully explain.”
This sentence came in the middle of the book probably, and it made so much sense as it reflects the personality of a nation that’s been treated so unfairly. And it’s one of the things I loved about this book. It’s so holistic! Everything she told, and the way she told added up into a big picture.
I know it sounds like a really depressive book talking about unimaginable sorrows of a young girl. But, at the same time, it’s a book of HOPE that will show everyone suffering from one thing or other that there’s LIGHT at the end of the tunnel, if one really wants to make a difference.
I really recommend everyone to pick up this book because of its importance, because of its brilliance, and because of its beauty.
If I had all the stars in the sky, I would give them to her, but for now, BIG 5 stars 🙂 By the time I publish this review, the rating on Goodreads is 4.48.
Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!