The Girl with Seven Names: Escape from North Korea

The Girl with Seven Names: Escape from North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee

Image result for the girl with seven names
Originally published: 2016
Author: Hyeonseo Lee
Page count: 320
Country: United Kingdom
Genres: Non-Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 
My Rating: 4 stars


This is a story of young girls extremely hard ascent into adulthood all due to a strict regime and her curiosity. This is a narrative of Sacrifice, survival and courage. We get a first-hand glimpse into the North Korean life, both from the point of view of the old and the new.

From the synopsis on the book: As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of the millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told “the best on the planet”?


I have recently become quite fascinated with the stories surrounding North Korea, probably because, like most people, I know nothing about it.

My initial reaction was WOW, literally! I flew through this book and couldn’t consume it quick enough. I was surprised, to be honest when reading about North Korea how normal it seemed. I mean other than the regime and stuff (obviously) but they work, they study, I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t that! I was really fascinated by the caste system and how everything revolves around it! Whether or not you can go through to further education is affected by it, your marriage etc. It is the centre of all Korean life.

Image result for hyeonseo lee

When reading through this book it surprised me how much I felt sorry for Hyeonseo in her loss of her home life. I never considered how difficult it must be to come from a life like she did and go straight into the 21st century. TVs and cars, they were all a complete shock to her. Can you imagine that feeling? That fear? It is portrayed amazingly throughout this book if I may say so.

The journey Hyeonseo went through to get to freedom was one of extreme suffering and at some points, it genuinely hurt to read about it. One girl, one 17-year-old girl should never have to go through that all by herself. Luckily she found friends along the way, some that were completely surprising to me! Now I don’t want to give any spoilers because I HIGHLY recommend you check this book out for yourself!! So what I have said here is just some of the details of an AMAZING book!


This was probably a very vague review but this book was unbelievable and I would genuinely throw it into the hand of anyone willing to read it!

So happy reading guys!!! P.s I promise this time I am BACK FOR GOOD! Wish me luck xx

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14 thoughts on “The Girl with Seven Names: Escape from North Korea

  1. Have you ever heard of Guy Delisle? He’s done a great graphic novel on his journey in North Korea. I’m hesitant to even call it a “graphic novel”, it’s more of a travel account-personal diary-social commentary hybrid. The author was one of the few Westerners allowed into the country to work back when it first started to grant VISAs in the early 2000s. If you want to learn more about North Korea and how day-to-day life of its people might be, you could try it out.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve seen a few interviews with people from North Korea on the same issue. When they talk about it, they seem so stone in flesh or cold, but you can tell that experience was very harsh and did considerable damage mentally. They are strong people. Hope others can get out and survive as well.

    Liked by 2 people

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