priceless account of a costly genocide,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Gebundene Ausgabe)
When I was a child in parochial school, we used to pray for "the starving children in Cambodia" every day. Now I finally know exactly who we were praying for.
Before this book was published, I wasn't able to find any first-person accounts of the genocide in Cambodia. Having finally read one, I can see why. Just reading it could be emotionally scarring. The actual experience is not something that most of Cambodia's survivors would want to relive in the telling.
Ung's unflinching account describes what we can only hope is the absolute nadir of human experience. These are the outrages endured by nation that was decimated twice over by squads of angry bullies, a crazed dictator, bitter classism and racial hatred, and senseless starvation.
"First They Killed My Father" is not for the squeamish, the pessimistic, or the tender-hearted. In fact, my greatest fear concerning books of this type is that some people are so overwhelmed by the horror of the Killing Fields and the Holocaust that they will not be able to comprehend it as fact, that their emotional health will require them to deny that such things are possible, and that consequently, they will hesitate or fail to act when they have the chance to prevent such things from happening in the future.
Some disappointments (really only worth deducting half a star, which Amazon doesn't allow):
1. Poor editing. Frequently the tense shifts in mid-paragraph from past to present, or from present to past, in describing a single incident. There are also numerous places where homonyms were used that should have been caught by an editor; "peddling" for "pedaling," for example, and "sown" for "sewn."
2. Very little follow-up on what happened to Luong after coming to the US. I wanted to know how she was able to heal her psyche after all she had endured as a child, for example, and what it was like for this little girl to become socialized in her new country. But perhaps this was too personal.
3. The title is misleading. I knew Luong was going to lose at least one sister, but I assumed that this would not happen until after her father was killed. Unpleasant surprises are fine in drama, but this was real life. I was upset enough without Keav's death taking me by surprise.
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