The Girl with Seven Names Book Reviews

Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee Book Summary


An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of 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”?

Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.


‘The most riveting TED talk ever’ Oprah

‘Harrowing’ Wired

‘A sad and beautiful story of a girl who could not even keep her name, yet overcame all with the identity of what it is to be human’ Jang Jin-sung, author of ‘Dear Leader’

‘Stirring and brave … true, committed, unvarnished and honest. Lee has made her own life the keyhole to the present, inside and outside of North Korea’ Scotsman

‘Remarkable bravery fluently recounted’ Kirkus

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. Recently graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, she has become a regular speaker on the international stage fostering human rights and awareness of the plight of North Koreans. She is an advocate for fellow refugees, even helping close relatives leave North Korea. Her TED talk has been viewed nearly 4m times. She is married to her American husband Brian Gleason and currently lives in South Korea.

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Book Name The Girl with Seven Names
Genre Biographies & Memoirs
Language English
E-Book Size 3.05 MB

The Girl with Seven Names (Hyeonseo Lee) Book Reviews 2023

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An amazing story of determination and intelligence, a defection fromNorth Korea!. She was 17 when she decided to slip away for a few days from North Korea to visit relatives in South Korea. That naive and dangerous act changed her life forever, along with her younger brother and her mother. She is now 41. Well worth reading.

The girl with seven names. This is a very moving book about trials and tribulations of one girls quest for freedom from the North Korean brainwashing country.Very well done the way it is written and the outcome is brilliant.

Girl with the seven names. This book is a page turner that does not stop the reader from reading.

Unforgettable!. AMAZING! I will never ever forget this woman's journey, and that of her family. I am overwhelmed with respect and empathy. Thank you for sharing your story!

Keep Reading It!. I downloaded this book and stepped away from it a couple of times because although I was interested in the subject, the sophomoric writing kept losing my attention. Well, I picked it back up tonight at about a third of the way through, and didn’t stop reading til the end. I’m not a “high literature” kind of person so I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the mood the first couple of tries, or if it’s that the story became so enthralling that I no longer noticed the writing style. Anyway, the point is, I highly recommend this book and please power through til you get to the point that you can’t stop reading this amazing story of human perseverance. It’s so educational and deeply humbling while being totally fascinating. Thank you for sharing your remarkable and amazing story, Hyeonseo!

Great Book. I couldn’t put this book down. What a brave, sweet girl. Bless the people in North Korea!

Worth the read. Amazing book! Such a powerful story

Amazing. This is a must-read. It was so compelling and really opened my eyes to the realities of life in North Korea.

Excellent read. Best book I have read in a long time!

Profound. I expected drama and adventure but I took away from it was much more substantial. Perspective on the world we live in. The courage of an individual and her will can not only endure, but overcome trials tribulations. Inspiring.

Amazing. Inspirational. This is such an amazing life journey.

The girl with seven names.. Interesting content but, I felt the writing was only mediocre.

Left me speechless.. It's hard to imagine a world without freedom. This memoir definitely had me counting my blessings and praying for a more just world...

Amazing!. A very eye opening, well-written, and captivating memoir! Thank you for sharing your life’s story.

Powerful. I read mountain climbing books about the capacity of human survival. This book got my attention for different reasons and did not disappoint!

The Girl With Seven Names. I could not put this book down. The bravery and perseverance it took to live this story are usually only found in fiction. This is a clear window into North Korea, China, South Korea and Laos and how much power poverty wields in so many ways. Read this book.

The girl with seven names. Fascinating look into a country hidden away from the rest of the world and its personal consequences.

Powerful. Hyeonseo takes us through her life story so far, she has lived and survived more than most will ever even think possible. Her commitment to her family and the resoluteness of her character is inspiring. Her story is like hearing the quiet matter of fact whispers of a horror story that followed her to success. Thank you for your transparency and for the dignity you have shared even through the most difficult circumstances of your life.

Mind opening!. I highly suggest this book

Amazing. Just amazing how you don’t know what is truly going on til you hear it. Highly recommend

FABULOUS!!. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read from it every chance I got and finished it in a week. At times I laughed, at times I teared up, and at times I wanted to shout in anger at the injustice of it all. Ms Lee is such a very strong woman and I'm so glad she and her family found their freedom. I understand that hers is one of so many stories just like it and a lot with terrible endings. My heart breaks for them. I saw God moving in this story and I pray God moves mightily in regards to North Korea. Thank you for telling your story young lady. You're a real inspiration. God bless you.

Heartbreaking and Encouraging. I try not to live in a bubble, but I must admit that I learned so much from this book. I know that there are evils in the world, but it completely humbles me when I read people’s survival stories. This book is eye opening, heart breaking, and encouraging. It showed me the horrible side of humanity, but it also showed me the good in it. We must be the good. We must stand up for fellow humans. We must not let evil win.

Amazing. Simply the best book I’ve read. I could not put it down.

Very insightful but also a page turner. Seeing N. Korea and China through the experiences of every day life is both interesting and informative. The book also has qualities of an adventure story- how will the heroine overcome adversity to achieve her goals.

Wow….an amazing journey. Riveting!. I could not put this book down once I started reading. My heart goes out to these survivors and helps me realize through America’s imperfections just how good we have it here. Counting my blessings. So thankful for this story at Christmas.

An amazing person. Very few could pull off what this young lady did! What makes her story really interesting is that her family were privileged in North Korea, and yet when the time came all chose to leave because privilege there means nothing.

Excellent read. This book provided me a rare glimpse into such a closed country like North Korea. The struggle the author went through reminded me of how privileged some of us are to enjoy the freedom and the choice to make our own destiny.

The Girl with Seven Names. Riveting page turner about identity, country, family and freedom- a true story told by a North Korean defector and her obstacles to freedom. The reader is transported to a foreign dictatorship and a closed world of propaganda. This book is filled with nuance and history. Thank you for sharing your journey, Hyeonseo Lee.

Enlightening story. I really enjoyed this book and it was an eye-opening book, which I could compare to situations that could come during Trump's Presidency.

The girl with seven names. A story of true bravery through the hardest of hardships and suffering. I am so glad I read this. I truly had no idea how horrible it is in North Korea for its people. The most gripping book I've read in a while. This story should reach more people. It would if it were a movie. I have been telling everyone about it and some will read it but I don't feel like they get the whole picture through my description. It needs to be hers.

The Girl with Seven Names. Fantastic book! I was on the edge the whole time, praying everything work out for the author! LOVED the book!

Great book. I found it hard to put this book down! Very interesting!

The girl with seven names. This book isn't only an excellent read but it keeps you on the edge of your seat in suspense. I couldn't put this book down. Whether you like to read or not this is a must read. I have recommended it to some of my friends and I am recommending it to anyone who reads this review. Please get this book. You won't regret it. Nice short chapters packed with drama and suspense and very informative. I can say a lot more but just get it and you won't put in down. Enjoy.

Great. Really great read, super interesting.

Amazing!!!. This was one of the best books I have ever read! I usually have a hard time finishing a book because I'll get bored in the middle. Not this book though! This was wonderful! A real page turner!

Amazing. It's hard for me to believe that there is a place in this modern world like North Korea. Her story is well written and a page turner. Since it is true you can not figure out the ending!

An adjustment in perception. Hyeonseo Lee's journey reinforces the irreplaceable love of family relationships and the soul's need for trust. The desire for true freedom for herself and her family, and her indefatigable pursuit of each of these circumstances is heart wrenching, inspiring, and will ensure my prayers will always include North Koreans and those who are in similar situations. God bless in a mighty way those who suffer such as this. God bless you Hyeonseo Lee, your mom, and your brother.

Phenomenal.. We see the stories of Isis on the news, we hear threats of North Korean missile launches, we were taught about the 6 million Jews losing their lives to Nazi Germany, of slaves. But what this book does is turn the stories into a relatable living situation. Relatable not because we can relate or fathom but of how the author portrays it. She paints the landscape to the different countries, you can almost see the hustle and bustle of the city. When she is a teenager, every thought and action was definitely that of a young person but you grow older with her through her testimony. I have always been drawn to Human Rights stories but this one has a uniqueness to it. I love this book and 100% recommend it to anyone (above age 12-this book is a milder version of what some of the defector stories)

Wow. This is such an important book. What an amazing story

The With Seven Names. She had to do what she felt she needed to do to survive. The story was written to show her challenges but it lacked something. I guess it’s hard to believe she gets herself on the edge but manages to get out of it every time!

The Girl with Seven Names. An excellent book by a wonderful, brilliant author. I couldn’t put it down. She is a truly amazing person. I learned much from her first person account of all she went through and what others go through in trying to escape North Korea.

Truly riveting. The story was so compelling and it reflected such on human nature. Read the book and taken into another world vividly.

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Amazing couldn't put it down.. Can't believe this is a true story. I hope it's turned into a movie!! I also recommend nothing to envy if you wish to read more about North Korea and defectors.

WOW!. Just WOW! This book is the reason I love to read. Such a page turner, I couldn't put it down. Buy it, read it, share it - educate the world! Thank you Hyeonseo, thank you!

Fascinating read!. Picked this up randomly and completely fell in love with it. So easy to read and it gives you an incredible insight into a completely different world. She is such an inspiration!

An eye opener. I loved this book - couldn't put it down. It made me realise how lucky I am to have been born in Australia.

The girl with seven names. Tearful, tragic and a very humble reminder to be grateful every minute of every day for my freedoms.

Brilliant! A must Read!. Gripping! Surreal! Incredible!

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The Girl With Seven Names. How can one family, KIM, rule NK with absolute power and authority? It is time for reunification to one Korea...An excellent book well worth your time to digest and ponder...

An eye opening inspiration. That was an amazing journey… speechless right now, but feeling overwhelmed with pride and happiness for these humans who have endured so many hardships.. thank you for sharing your story.

Amazing story. This was my time reading about North Korea life struggles and it has opened my eyes to so many conflicts that are present in today's society. The dedication and struggles of this lady leaves me in awe of what human beings are made of. Tenacity and strength has proven that anything can be possible. Good luck to her and her family to enjoy a long life

Loved this book. Very well written. I went through in no time. Learnt so much more about North Korea

What a great story.. What an eye opening tale.

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Summary of The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

The The Girl with Seven Names book written by Hyeonseo Lee was published on 02 July 2015, Thursday in the Biographies & Memoirs category. A total of 1,553 readers of the book gave the book 4.5 points out of 5.

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