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

A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea
Author: Eunsun Kim and Sebastien Falletti
Genre: Nonfiction, Modern History, Autobiography and Memoir
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Pages: 240
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Eunsun Kim was born in North Korea, one of the most secretive and oppressive countries in the modern world. As a child Eunsun loved her country...despite her school field trips to public executions, daily self-criticism sessions, and the increasing gnaw of hunger as the country-wide famine escalated.

      By the time she was eleven years old, Eunsun's father and grandparents had died of starvation, and Eunsun was in danger of the same. Finally, her mother decided to escape North Korea with Eunsun and her sister, not knowing that they were embarking on a journey that would take them nine long years to complete. Before finally reaching South Korea and freedom, Eunsun and her family would live homeless, fall into the hands of Chinese human traffickers, survive a North Korean labor camp, and cross the deserts of Mongolia on foot.

     Now, Eunsun is sharing her remarkable story to give voice to the tens of millions of North Koreans still suffering in silence. Told with grace and courage, her memoir is a riveting exposé of North Korea's totalitarian regime and, ultimately, a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

     My Review: At eleven years old, Eusun Kim, her mother, and sister flee North Korea. Their escape takes nine long years. Eventually they reach safety and refuge in South Korea. In this heart-wrenching tale, her story of survival also exposes the cruelties of life in North Korea, and living as an illegal alien in China.

     The family in the beginning was not opposed to the dictatorship in North Korea. In fact, they even cried when Kim-Il Sung died. They thought he was a living god and the world had shattered. But during the famine, they were on the verge of death and starvation. In order to survive so they would not die, they decide to flee to China so they could start a new life and not be hungry anymore. After several attempts at crossing the perilous journey into the Chinese borders, they found that freedom was not as it seemed to be. Because of China’s agreement with North Korea, any illegal immigrants had to be sent back immediately upon discovery. Eusun Kim and her family found that this freedom was an illusion and were forced to be in hiding. Because they believed that marriage to a Chinese man would solve the problem of being discovered as an illegal alien, they were tricked when her mother was forced to become a concubine to a mean abusive man. As Eusun’s sorrows grows deeper, soon she finds hatred for her country of North Korea.

     Overall, this story is about determination and hope. They never gave up searching for their freedom. The memoir is very well-written, and very inspiring. While the novel is very quick and an easy read, it is filled with rich details about life in North Korea and as an illegal alien in China. I encourage you to read it because it is a very important book. Not only is it relevant to the issues of our life today, but it also shows us that no matter how tough our life may seem, there is always hope.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


  1. Thank you for the review. I'm glad you followed my recommendation and read this book. I am very honored that you did it for me! This review has definitely made my day!

  2. Thanks, Mom! This review is dedicated to you! Nothing pleases me more than making you happy!

  3. Aww, thanks. That is really sweet! Love you!


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