6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A great read, 14 May 2006
'First they killed my father' is a compelling personal account of a young Cambodian girl's experiences of life under the Brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. This being Luong's first book, takes the form of a diary account and is written in a simple yet informative and readable format.
Luong was born into a wealthy family of nine in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Pen. As her father is employed in the city as a military police captain and is a supporter of the former Lon Nol government both he and his family risk being captured and killed by the Extreme communist Khmer Rouge if his identity is found out. The Khmer Rouge wants to turn Cambodia into an agrarian nation free of the 'western poison' of capitalism. To make this dream a reality they begin to kill anyone who isn't 'pure' Khmer and all those who indulge in western culture and learning. Luong's father moves his family to the countryside where the Khmer Rouge places them into a work camp. The father attempts to keep his origins a secret so his family can survive. Every member of the family works hard and speaks to no-one so that they will become worthy citizens in the eyes of the angkar.
The Book moves at a steady pace and the reader is kept interested throughout because of the author's uncomplicated writing style. Luong's changing emotions are vividly articulated drawing the reader in and allowing them to understand her plight and also her great triumph at the end when she beats all the odds and finally achieves her freedom.