The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

This book was spellbinding. The author’s honest detail of the life she endured in North Korea is incredible. She gave detailed insight into the daily life of the North Koreans who love their country but are subject to indoctrination to believe they live in the “Best Country in the World.” The propaganda is extensive throughout the country. Meanwhile, the people live in extreme poverty and are forced to witness mandatory executions of those who oppose the regime. Everyone receives lessons in school, business, and through media that the “Dear Leader” is their only hope.

The author’s family had food, but she saw others starving to death in a famine that killed hundreds of thousands. Hyeonseo is a true heroine and helped her family escape to South Korea despite unthinkable odds. She survived a kidnapping, escaped from a brothel, and was in constant danger. Hyeonseo spent ten years on the run, fleeing to China and, finally, South Korea.

We are very fortunate to live where we do. It is shocking that these conditions still exist in North Korea today. Hyeonseo had to change her name seven times during her quest for freedom. She says leaving North Korea is not like leaving any other country. It is more like departing another universe. This book is a must-read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It would be a page-turner if it were fiction, but even more heartbreaking because it is real!

Readers Ink Club Member Rating: 7.8
Review by Lorraine Kelly