The Girl With Seven Names

The Girl With Seven Names

A North Korean Defector's Story

eBook - 2015
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An extraordinary insight into the lives of North Koreans and one woman's 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...
Publisher: Glasgow : HarperCollins Publishers, 2015
ISBN: 9780007554867
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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The Girl with Seven Names was a fascinating look at North Korea from an accidental defector who lived a more comfortable life than many on the Chinese/North Korea border. Not only did I learn a lot about North Korea, but I learned much about that part of the world in general. Lee’s book was very interesting and I highly recommend it. (Submitted by JF).

Oct 24, 2018

An interesting book on one young Korean woman's escape from North Korea, and her childhood and background. Her older brother's return to North Korea was especially disheartening, and I felt the same when hearing of Chinese from Taiwan, or retired US military types, seeking to live in the totalitarian state of China, as if the ruling class there poses no problems whatsoever!?!?
[This book really reminded me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - - not being facetious either - - in the utter absurdity of life and her own experiences, et cetera.]

Sep 12, 2018

I've read several other books about North Korea, one about a Korean American teaching elites there and another about a North Korean fleeing this country. This book was different. Hyeonseo Lee (his seventh and final name) grew up in relatively secure life in a town bordering on China with parents with "good class" and with food on their table. Her brainwashing began in school, where she learned her country was the most prosperous in the world, that South Korea started the Korean ware, and that the country's leader was extremely caring for the people and suffered for them. On a lark,at age 17 she crossed the border to visit a relative and stayed several days, making it impossible for her to return.

The book tells of her growing up in North Korea, her ten-year sojourn, mostly in China, with illegal papers, her finally reach South Korea, her reunion with close family members, and their adjustment to life. For the first part of the book, I saw her as a selfish, relatively spoiled child and pushed myself to continue reading, but she great in many ways and her spirit pushed her forward. She has helped North Korean defectors adjust to life in South Korea and to gain respect and has spoken internationally about her country of birth. It definitely is worth reading.

Amazing book, a must read. Easy to read but very well written. Finished it in a day.

Aug 09, 2018

A very good book. I was often concerned about continuing as I struggled with what she might face, but in spite of many hardships she was courageous and hopeful. I read this for my book club and though it was one I probably would not have chosen to read on my own, I'm really glad I did. A great look at what life in North Korea is for the people who live there, and the difficulties they face when they encounter what the rest of the world is really like.

This is well written ( way better than Do Not Say We have Nothing) but it is still just one woman's story of good luck, being in the right place at the right time and some clever out-witting of guards. It is interesting to read about her pining for her home country despite the abuse of its citizens.

Mar 20, 2018

Wonderful book--in depth study of North Korean culture through the eyes of a girl who risked her life in breaking through.

Feb 22, 2018

Among the BEST books that I have read. A cliff-hanger and a wonderful peek into how life is lived in North Korea. The writing captured the emotional sense of each twist and turn. An AMAZING story, extremely well told.

Sep 25, 2017

I have read better narratives and stories about North Korea, such as The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson and A Kim Il-Jung Production by Paul Fischer. This story was too halting for my tastes (the author likes to uses phrases such as "What happened next was to test me more than anything had before.") I suppose I would use the term melodramatic for this book.

Sep 01, 2017

This is a very good look at how North Korea brainwashes kids from the day they are born. You want to laugh at how they revere "the great leader" but it isn't funny when you hear what they are taught about "yankees". This gal didn't even believe the lies and corruption when she was told it in China and South Korea. The ordinary North Korean lives a subsistence level life but the upper echelon live "high on the hog". They blame everything that is wrong in their world on the yankees.
This helps me understand the thinking behind N. Korea's current animosity towards us- even if it is all based on lies- it drives their every move.

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