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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't not read this
As soon as I finished reading this I wanted to start it all over again. Loung Ung is not only an amazing writer but an inspirational person, and to read her story is to know her. The hate that grips her after all that happens to her makes you so angry as the child you meet at the start of the story is forced to disappear. To read this book is to have your heart torn out...
Published on 27 Dec 2003 by G. Jacob

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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written fictional account
I found this poorly written and unconvincing. Ok, the major events probably took place to her and her family but this is a fictional recreation of the events, probably using information and history from other relatives and friends. Can a five year (?) really remember that much detail? What the KR did was appalling and the suffering they caused is undeniable but spare me...
Published 19 months ago by Mike


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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 24 Dec 2003
By 
This is a book to inspire anyone to be a writer. A direct, powerfully moving narrative which builds a momentum seemingly artlessly until the reader is utterly gripped and most probably in tears.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically written, harrowing tale., 17 Sep 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Paperback)
Simply put, emotionally heart wrenching and very harrowing. I have read a lot of biographies based in SE Asia and I can safely say that this is the best written and most disturbing story.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book, 6 Oct 2010
By 
Sofia (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Paperback)
It took me a long time to be brave enough to read this book. Let's be honest, it has a horribly uncompelling title and I didn't really want to be seen reading it on the bus. What drove me to finally pick it up was the knowledge that I've read a lot written by survivors of the holocaust, but nothing about the brutality of the Khmer Rouge. Once I started reading it, I was so glad I had. Here is an account of a childhood lost, of a family destroyed, of a country, a society torn to shreds by war, suspicion and fear, yet for all its unpleasantness, Ung's story is a redemptive testament to the power of familial love, determination and instinctive self-preservation.

What I liked about this book, was the searing honesty that runs right through it. Ung was clearly devoted to her father and this book is in many ways a lament for the childhood she was denied with him. Yet Ung is never shy about showing us the ugliest behaviour to which the deprivation of the Pol Pot years drove her. She willingly tells us about stealing food from her own family when they were all slowly starving, likewise she is alarmingly honest about how she leaves the injured and dying to their fate in order to save her own skin and she very clearly demonstrates how hunger annihilates reason, compassion and even fear.

Less successful for me were the italicized sections where she imagined the tormented deaths of various family members. Ung simply doesn't know exactly what happened to these people and her imaginings, though no doubt based of a range of commonly heard stories, remain exactly that. For me it felt slightly innapropriate to imagine their emotional state as they died, but it is perhaps, a way to convey to the reader the true depravity of the time. Likewise and more pedantically, Ung's father is around for a great deal more of the book than I'd supposed given the book's title and his loss is certainly not the first horror the family has to endure.

Nonetheless, this is an important read. The Khmer Rouge did not document their atrocities like the Nazis, there are no detailed records about the nature and form of their rule and there are I believe still no hard and fast figures about how many people died as a result of their brutality and neglect. So it falls to survivors like Ung to write to ensure that the wider world doesn't forget what happened in Cambodia and I'm glad that she did. For me, the most moving part of the book comes right at the beginning, when Ung points out that this is her family's story, but that it would have been our story too had we been living in Phnom Penh in April 1975.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I had no idea about the killing fields, so ..., 28 July 2014
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I had no idea about the killing fields, so this was an enlightening read! It was well written and kept my attention throughout.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, 18 Jun 2008
By 
S. Bedford "steve b" (gb) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having visited s21 and the killing fields this book is particulary poignant.It captures the human tragedy and makes me think that irrespective of all that goes on in todays society we are lucky enough not to have lived through such a time when life was so cheap.
Read this book of the flight to Phnom Penh for a truly moving experience.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, second one I have read on this subject in the last couple of months, definately recommend it, 9 Feb 2014
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Interesting book, it is the second one I have read on this subject in the last couple of months, definately recommend it
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick and easy, 3 Sep 2011
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This review is from: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Paperback)
A truly moving book. Service was quick and easy. If you want a book with no hastle, this is the way to go.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, 10 April 2011
I have recently visited Cambodia and I bought this book whilst there. This book is truly unforgettable just like Cambodia's beautiful and gentle people. Essential reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First they killed my father, 19 Nov 2010
This review is from: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Paperback)
Very moving potrayal of life under the Kmer Rouge. Really brought history to life and left me with a greater understanding of what these people had to endure.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story, 3 Mar 2009
By 
H. Wells (Singapore) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Paperback)
It is an amazing story. It makes you wonder how the world could have allowed this to happen.
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