As the title would suggest the newest book from the popular and inspirational human rights activist, Yeonmi Park (co authored by Maryanne Vollers) focuses on the dangers of living under the brutal and dogmatic North Korean regime of Kim Jong-il (father of current day North Korean supreme leader, Kim Jong-un).
Yeonmi Park was born into a relatively privileged position within North Korean society, specifically since her father was a member of the local ruling political party. Despite this her childhood was not a wholly pleasant one. She was told that she must unquestioningly support her great leader, Kim Jong-il and that if she did not he would know, for he could read the minds of all his subjects.
As silly as this might sound it was something which the majority of the North Koreans firmly believed to be true. Yeonmi certainly did and due it her childhood was filled with uncertainty and fear. This fear was only furthered when her father was laid off from his work. Struggling for money and terrified for his families health, her father turned to a life of crime, smuggling metals back and forth from North Korea and China with a gang of similar down and outs. When the North Korean authorities found out about it Mr. Park was imprisoned and tortured, leaving the Park family without their primary source of income. Facing the prospect of death by starvation Yeonmi’s mother, in communication with her jailed husband, came to a shocking and dangerous conclusion – escape North Korea or die.
Yeonmi Park currently resides in South Korea and travels the world speaking out against the atrocities and fascism she witnessed during her upbringing in North Korea. She has worked as a co-host on several internet talk shows and believes and works towards a reunified North and South Korea.