I have read a couple of books on defectors from North Korea but this is one I have not read even though I do have a copy of it.
The Girl with Seven Names, Escape from North Korea
by Lee Hyeon Seo
I decided to start reading it and it is quite well written and easy to read, so much so I finished it in a day.
I have read books in a day before, but not many and I’m quite happy to have done one this round. Though in my travel back from the US, I did finish one book in one day but that was quite an elongated day having traveled across the international time zone. So it won’t count.
The book is quite engaging and you will feel like you’ve been alongside her in her journey across the different nations to finally reach South Korea.
It would not be fair to compare between defectors, because their lives and experiences are different but I must say the other book I read, A Thousand Miles to Freedom by Kim Eun Sun, though not as well written, was more harrowing than Lee’s.
And from our perspective, we would think that it would be an excellent idea for more North Koreans to defect to the South but after reading these books, I found that it may not be the case.
Life for them in the South is usually hard and lonely, and it is very difficult for them to settle or to make a good living. Life for South Koreans themselves is tough and competitive, what more for the defectors who usually have no degrees, no family support or a good background to speak of.
As oppressive and harsh life in the North was, many would wish they had never left.