The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

Life in North Korea, and after.  Outstanding book     

My rating:  5 out of 5     


This is a memoir about growing up in North Korea, escaping (almost by mistake) and finally living in South Korea.  Hyeonseo Lee tells of her upbringing in North Korea – a country she lThe Girl with Seven Namesoved (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. 

1 reply »

  1. I am gagging to read this, Emma! For ages I’ve wanted to know more about what life is like in North Korea – can’t wait, thanks for bringing it to my attention!!!


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