Book reviews

Book Review: A Thousand Miles to Freedom by Eunsun Kim


Recently I finished reading this book and more than anything I just wanted to share about it. It’s kind of difficult to give a review on someone’s life so instead, I will just talk to you about it.

The book starts off when Eunsun Kim is only 11 years old. She is sitting at home alone, waiting for her mother and sister to return from finding food or money or both. She had already been home for days and was starving as there was no food in the house. From this point on, the book alternates back and forth between present day (whenever this book was written) and her recounting of her childhood and the 9 years it took to escape North Korea.

I loved reading this book. I have wanted to know what goes on in North Korea for years and we all know the media is not entirely trustworthy. So reading this book of a firsthand account of life in North Korea was so interesting and at times, completely mind boggling. To learn of some of the things that took place and might still be taking place was heartbreaking.

School field trips to public executions.

Self criticizing sessions where students had to stand in front of the entire classroom and state something they were ashamed of.

The government withholding money and food from citizens and keeping it only for the highest elite and the military.

The way the country basically has to worship the country’s leader like a god.

The complete distrust of family and friends (they will report you if you ever badmouth the country’s leader and you can get arrested).

And all the things the government teaches its children and citizens such as: Americans are the enemy and all Americans have white skin and yellow hair. South Korea is the enemy and is nothing but the brain child of America’s brainwashing, and other things of that nature.

It was all so deeply unsettling.

One thing I can say I am happy about is that this woman and her family found freedom. It was a long and terrible journey but they found it and are much happier. Not only that, but Eunsun Kim is now a public speaker about her life and wishes to spread the truth about what really happens in North Korea.  More than anything, she just wishes the people of North Korea can be free as well; free to think their own thoughts, free to speak what’s on their hearts and minds, and to never have to experience starvation again.

This is a book that I think more people should read and share. We don’t all get the chance to meet someone who has a story like this to tell in order to find out the truth about something. That’s why I think books like this are important and I hope this blog post will peak your interest and cause you to pick this book up and read it.

It’s less than 300 pages and although the content is quite heavy, it is not told in such a heavy and depressing way. There is a sort of fire or hunger in the author’s words and even if you were not sure whether or not the author escapes successfully, you feel that she won’t stop trying until she does.

I can’t really give this book a star rating so I will simply end this post by saying that I recommend this book and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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