4 stars

“We can do without almost anything – our home, even our country. But we will never do without other people, and we will never do without family.”

Hyeonseo Lee

If I’m being honest, I know very little about North Korea, and this book completely opened my eyes and gave me a whole new perspective on life.

This memoir follows the author as she recounts her escaping from North Korea. When she left, she left behind everything: her family, her identity, her safety, her country. This memoir follows her life as she tells her experiences of just dodging the police in China, the constant burden of a secret, and the dangers that came with the simplest of tasks such as phone calls and waitressing.

This memoir is very well written, including just enough details to make the story heartbreaking but not overbearing. It was completely fascinating to read about life growing up in North Korea, where you are taught in school that you are living int he greatest country in the world. The leaders are seen as idols, credited with everything good the country has gone through. Public executions were a normal activity elementary school students were excused to witness. I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone else, but there are countless details I could mention that left me in absolute awe as I was reading.

The other part of this journey I found fascinating is that this is all happening right now. While I was reading, I had to constantly remind myself that these events in the book were not set 50-100 years in the past, but only 5-10. It is truly shocking.

I don’t have much to say about this book, but I still wanted to feature it on my blog because it is so important and I definitely believe it is a book everyone should read. It definitely opened my eyes and made me interested in reading more stories like this in the future.

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