Arts & Entertainment

Book Review: A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea by Eunsun Kim

by J. Rosalyn

Eunsun Kim is not even thirty years old, but:

1. She has fled two countries, North Korea and China;
2. She was forced to leave school at 11 and spend nine years trying to survive, most of the time without sufficient food and without a real home;
3. She watched her father, grandparents and neighbors die of starvation;
4. She was sold by a human trafficker, along with her mother and sister, to an abusive family in rural China;
5. In order to reach South Korea, she and her mother were smuggled into Mongolia and had to cross the Gobi Desert at night;
6. She and her mother were forced to abandon her baby brother in China; and
7. She spent many months being interrogated by South Korean intelligence in order to prove she was not a North Korean spy.

This book is one of a growing number that exposes the true horrors of the great famine that killed over a two million North Koreans in the 1990s and the brutal conditions that still exist in that country. Despite all of the above – and worse – Eunsun’s love of her homeland and her hope for a free, unified Korea remains, as does her commitment to try and help children who are experiencing devastation similar to what she endured. After reading her book, the common complaints of the West seem so unimportant. This book should be required reading in every high school.