Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: First They Killed My Father

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.)

Synopsis from Amazon:
Written in the present tense, First They Killed My Father will put you right in the midst of the action--action you'll wish had never happened. It's a tough read, but definitely a worthwhile one, and the author's personality and strength shine through on every page. Covering the years from 1975 to 1979, the story moves from the deaths of multiple family members to the forced separation of the survivors, leading ultimately to the reuniting of much of the family, followed by marriages and immigrations. The brutality seems unending--beatings, starvation, attempted rape, mental cruelty--and yet the narrator (a young girl) never stops fighting for escape and survival. Sad and courageous, her life and the lives of her young siblings provide quite a powerful example of how war can so deeply affect children--especially a war in which they are trained to be an integral part of the armed forces. For anyone interested in Cambodia's recent history, this book shares a valuable personal view of events.

My Review:
I love books like this that tell a personal story but also tell about different cultures and times.  This book is about the author's experiences in Cambodia during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, starting when she was only 5 years old.  Since she was so young during this time, she did not really know what was happening.  She was forced to grow up way too fast and experience truly awful things.  This book was really well written and I felt a connection to the author.  I was deeply touched by her devotion to her family; several times she risked her life just to go see her remaining family members who lived miles away.  Despite the terrible things that happened to her, the author overcame them and came to America with one of her brothers.  I will definitely pick up other books by this author.

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