Yeonmi Park never knew what freedom was, she had never even known of that word. To her, the happiest thing was simply having something to eat.
The story of Yeonmi begins with her initial steps outside of North Korea in 2007. Together with her mother, they crossed the frozen Yalu River in the middle of the night. They arrived in China with no idea of what to do next. Yeonmi was only a thirteen-year old. Distress was only beginning, a journey that would take her years to cross China through the Gobi desert. They were to go all the way to the border of Mongolia before finally getting into South Korea.
For Yeomni to be able to survive the journey, she had to sacrifice a remarkable strength of character. Going against the law, she got subjected to unending abuse, and suicide and starvation were not that far away. Her father died a few months after crossing the border to be with her.
In an interview with Reason TV, Yeomni tells of how her father died unaware of the level of democracy that existed in the US. She adds that her father did not even know that the world had abundant food. On putting how much they were desperate, Yeomni stresses that if only they could have had those things that Americans put in trashes, she would have never escaped North Korea.
The survival story of Yeomni Park has captivated various readers and taken her into global spotlight. However, Pyongyang has gone to produce a video in attempts to discredit some main part of her story. The Youtube video vilifies Yeonmi and her mum by accusing them of being puppets of the US. Critics say that they have found inconsistencies in her story and inaccuracies within her depiction of her country.
Yeonmi has however insisted that her story is based on true events. She insists that some details were changed in order to protect some of her family members that were still living in her native country. On events such as sexual abuse, she claims that she had to hide the secret. Yeomni told that she never wanted to admit that she got raped while she was thirteen years old. Other misstatements, she has attributed them to her ineloquence in the English language.