The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story

by Hyeonseo Lee, David John

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Overview

An extraordinary insight into the life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to escape.One of the millions of North Koreans trapped by a brutal regime, mad dictatorship and starvation of body and soul, Hyeonseo Lee fled North Korea when she was just a fifteen year-old girl. As she escaped to stay with distant relatives in China, Hyeonseo still believed that North Korea was the best place in the world to live, and that Kim Il-Sung was her savior. She did not know it would be fourteen years until she was reunited with her family.She could not return, for fear that she and her family would incur the punishments of the government authorities – involving imprisonment, torture, possible public execution. Hyeonseo instead remained in China and strove to learn Chinese and a little English in an effort to adapt and survive. Fourteen years and two lifetimes later, she would return to the border in a daring mission to spirit her mother and brother to South Korea, on one of the most arduous, expensive and dangerous journeys imaginable.This is the unique story not only of Hyeonseo’s escape from the darkness into the light, but also of a coming of age, an education and a resolve rebuild her life not once but twice – first in China, then in South Korea. Strong, brave and eloquent, this memoir is a triumph of spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780007554867
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/02/2015
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 5,895
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Hyeonseo Lee grew up in North Korea but escaped to China in 1997. In 2008, after more than 10 years there, she came to Seoul, South Korea, where she struggled to adjust to life in the bustling city. Now a student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, she has become an advocate for fellow refugees, even helping close relatives leave North Korea.

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The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Excellently written! At first I thought it was about someone fiction and I was suprised that it was actually about the author! Very touching story. As much as I knew that North Korea was terrible and gloomy, I never knew it was that in the book. Luckily, I'm South Korean! Never going to North Korea! NEVER!!!! Once you get in you can't get out! It's like prison even though your not in a prison cell. So sad:(. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book tracing the author's birth and life in North Korea, her escape and journey to South Korea, and her helping her mother and brother escape as well. The story is well written and told in quite an exciting way. If you have never read a book by or about a North Korean defector, it's great way to start learning about life there. If you have read several books, as I have, it will add another dimension to your understanding of life in North Korea and its' citizens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written story about a girls struggles to be free.you will feel sorry for all those left behind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her story is so epic that halfway through i checked to see if i accidentally purchased a novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and moving. Reaffirms how lucky I am to have been born in the US.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book takes readers through a young woman's upbringing in North Korea and she and her family's escape from it. Just as courageous as her harrowing ordeal is her willingness to share her thoughts and feelings as she evolves throughout her journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't believe how she did this. Incredibly, she created a masterpiece of a life story. The best of the best TED talk too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story makes you appreciate your freedom and rights.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And to think I almost took a pass on this book; I am usually more of a fiction or historical fiction reader. I expected a rather dull, mundane, biographical type book. Instead, I found the book to be anything but dull. On the contrary, I was enthralled, fascinated. The writer displayed exceptional skil?, allowing me enter Lee Hyeon-seo's mind an? experience what it was like growing up in North Korea. I appreciated the unapologetic, straight-forward, writing; there was no need for embellishment or exaggeration. It was a gift to be able experience the remarkable journey of Lee Hyeon-seo's life.
EmmabBooks More than 1 year ago
Life in North Korea, and after. This is a memoir about growing up in North Korea, escaping (almost my mistake) and finally living in South Korea. Hyeonseo Lee tells of her upbringing in North Korea - a country she loved (though there were plenty of downsides!), and its contrast with life just across the river in China. Hyeonseo Lee's story is fascinating, telling of how she was indoctrinated by the regime, the irritation of the enforced communal activities and the horrors of the famine of 1996. Her story is told as she saw it at the age she was writing about, with some retrospective comments. One of her first impressions of China was "I'd come from a world of black and white into one of Technicolor". She describes the enormous differences in the two countries and her problems with terrible homesickness. A book with so much drama and terrifying action it is hard to put down. There are useful maps at the beginning of the book, and photos midway through. The writing style is easy to read, though much of the subject matter is, of course, very thought provoking. A great read, particularly so with what is going on in the world at the moment. So good I have already bought a friend a copy, and have recommended it to many others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just wow it is a great book
Anonymous 18 days ago
I enjoyed reading the authors journey . I couldn't put the book down. I had no idea about life in North Korea.
Anonymous 8 months ago
A stunning insight into the oppressive lives of North Korean citizens. Truly a must read for anyone who takes freedom for granted—the freedom to eat, speak, and breathe....the freedom to say no, the freedom to say yes, the freedom to stay, the freedom to go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I+could+not+put+it+down.
Axel The Sir More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book, and honestly want to read it until I can recite it from memory. I've learned so much from it, and I honestly felt like I was there throughout the entire book. I cried multiple times, and still can't even talk about what she's gone through without getting goosebumps and teary-eyed. Escaping was brave enough, but speaking out and telling her story for the world to hear is absolutely outstanding. I rarely get emotional over books, fiction and nonfiction alike, but knowing a real person went through these things hits hard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone+living+in+freedom+and+be+Levin+that+the+US+can+count+on+North+Korea+to+make+any+deal+must+read+this+true+story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
unable+to+put+down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This+is+a+story+so+powerful.++I+could+not+put+the+book+down%21
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learned so much about North and South Korea from this book. It is heartbreaking how much the North Koreans suffer at the hands of their leader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“My name is Hyeonseo Lee. It is not the name I was born with, nor one of the names forced on me, at different times, by circumstance. But it is the one I gave myself, once I’d reached freedom” (Lee 18). The book The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee with David John is about an average North Korean teenager who lived in the 80’s and her journey to a different country and safety. The Girl With Seven Names teaches about Korean culture and all actions have consequences, Hyeonseo’s journey to a different country fulfills her curiosity about outside countries. The novel The Girl With Seven Names is told from the author’s point of view, the main character Hyeonseo is also the writer of the book. The book is about her experiences in multiple countries and how she had to go through many different life changes, including her name, which is changed six different times. All of her name changes have a story behind them. They could be from the way the culture and rules are in North Korea or from her curiosity and consequences. “In North Korea, as elsewhere, it was common for a child’s surname to change if a mother remarried, but it was highly unusual for the first name to change, too. My mother was given no choice in the matter. And so, I was four years old when my identity was changed for the second time, just after my parents married. My new name was Park Min-young” (Lee 10). The book frequently explains about the Korean culture and what it is like to live in North Korea. The story keeps the readers interested and wanting to read more by telling the aspects of being in North Korea. Hyeonseo talks about everything she notices and is told about. “And to cap it all off his family and hers had good songbun, which made their position in society secure” (Lee 5-6). A songbun is a caste system that originated in North Korea, it affects the Koreans life and family. The songbun is a part of North Korean culture and it could change how people live their life in the country. The book The Girl With Seven Names is a source that teaches that all actions have consequences. Hyesoneo is very curious about other countries, in North Korea there is not access to any outside countries. One day Hyesoneo and her friend turn on the television and watch a Chinese channel. In North Korea it is a crime to watch other countries’ television channels. The channel was Mandarin, so they did not understand what the tv was saying, Hyeonseo only watched the tv because she was so fascinated by the scenery and environment. “Its attraction was that we could pick up Chinese TV stations that broadcast soap operas and glamourous commercials for luscious products. Though we could not understand Mandarin, just watching them provided a window onto an entirely different way of life. Watching foreign TV stations was highly illegal and a very serious offense” (Lee 59). The television made Hyeonseo want to see if China and other outside countries were actually a real representation of the show. Hyeonseo eventually is too curious and comes up with the idea to leave North Korea to go see the atmosphere of a different country. “This is the first time I had ever done something so flagrantly, criminally illegal” (Lee 97). Hyeonseo knew she was doing something illegal but she wanted to see another country and she had a plan to stay with her relatives in China. Once she got to China she was put in many bad situations due to her being North Korean in another country and she also missed her family b
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. It really makes me appreciate that I live in america. Praise God that she was able to be reunited with her family and all the help she had on her way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enlightening about how blessed we are in the USA. Well written.