June 05, 2023

Book review: How one North Korean summoned the courage to resist her fate

Jihyun Park’s account of her escape from the DPRK provides a sobering look at her struggle for freedom

“The Hard Road Out” is a work of both shock and awe, describing in anguishing detail real accounts of human trafficking, rape, torture, death and family abandonment. It details co-author Jihyun Park’s escape from North Korea with clarity and precision yet never a hint of hyperbole.

It boggles the mind how an individual can experience such things and still find meaning. While reading it, I often found myself questioning whether I would have the courage and intestinal fortitude to do even half of what Park experienced. If I were placed in a totalitarian state, would I be brave enough to leave? And if so, how would I ever endure the often unspeakable challenges that come next?