The Girl with Seven Names - Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names

By Hyeonseo Lee

  • Release Date: 2015-07-01
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
From 367 Ratings



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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  • The girl with seven names

    By sandraspinner
    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

    By nelia bae
    This book is a page turner that does not stop the reader from reading.
  • Very insightful but also a page turner

    By Jnlyn5
    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.
  • Great book

    By nelsoncmazsb
    I found it hard to put this book down! Very interesting!
  • The Girl With Seven Names

    By Lesz88
    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

    By Beekham
    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.

    By Bojon wright
    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.
  • Enlightening story

    By Zsdffgyy
    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.
  • Powerful

    By mylifeisviola
    This book is profound. It reveals powerful insights into the mindsets and values of various cultures, and it fosters sympathy and understanding toward one another. Hyeonseo, thank you for having the courage to open up about your life, and the lives of your family. You’ve deeply impacted me.
  • Amazing!!!

    By kristabrown18
    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!