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In 1997, 17-year-old Hyeonseo Lee secretly left North Korea to visit relatives in China, expecting to return soon afterward. However, her exit from her homeland—which she had been taught was the greatest nation in the world but was infamous for its brutal communist regime—put her family at risk, so she never returned.

Lonely, afraid, and exploited, Lee nevertheless made a life for herself in China. Later, she made a daring escape to South Korea. From there she helped her mother and brother to freedom.

Informative and gut-wrenching, Lee’s memoir sheds light on a citizen’s love for her oppressed, beleaguered nation, even as she realizes that “I will never truly be free of its gravity, no matter how far I journey.” (William Collins)

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