Category Archives: Real Life Story

The Yeonmi Park Story: Fact or Fiction?

Readers around the world have been both captivated and horrified at the details of the heart wrenching narrative told by Yeonmi Park, the brave young Korean who dared to risk her life to escape North Korea with her mother in 2007. Park’s audacious plight to South Korea is inspiring to say the least. Her journey to freedom, though not without its hardship (including the death of her father due to undiagnosed cancer), has led to a life of opportunity and liberty that neither Park or her family could ever have dreamed of living. In addition to finding a new peace and tranquility that she could not have dreamed of in her oppressive native land, Park has triggered a wealth of emotion among the readers of her influential novel, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. While many readers have found Park’s novel to be touching, motivating, and inspirited, a few people have raised concerns and even directly criticized the book. The critical question for both past and future readers, therefore, is whether or not Park’s story is completely factual. Critics have accused Yeonmi Park of misrepresenting the state of affairs on CASEY & YEONMI of her native North Korea. They suggest that Park is an agent of the United States and claim to have found discrepancies in her story. Park asserts, however, that she deliberately adjusted certain elements of her biography in order to protect the reputation of her family members. She also argues that she purposefully neglected to mention sensitive personal issues, such as her rape at the age of 13, because they were too difficult to discuss. Additionally, Park cites her poor command of the English language for small inconsistencies. Yeonmi Park maintains her position, despite criticism and judgement, that North Korea is an oppressive regime and that it’s citizens deserve to have the voice of someone who has broken free of it’s tyrannical clutches speak out on the Reason. Unlike many of her critics, Park has actually experienced the injustice of her homeland and is passionately devoted to helping others by exposing the unjust system as much as she can.