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The Girl In The Picture: The Remarkable Story Of Vietnam's Most Famous Casualty Paperback – 4 Jun 2001
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Kim Phuc was nine years old in 1972. Severely burned by napalm, she ran from her burning village and was captured on film. Denise Chong relates Kim's experience and recovery in this astonishing biography and history of America's shameful war. The photograph of Kim, seen around the world, was one of many to turn public opinion against the war in Vietnam. This is the story of how the picture came to be and also what happened to Kim after it was taken. It provides an insight into the country Vietnam became after the US army left, and explains why Kim finally had to flee to Canada, where she now lives.
About the Author
DENISE CHONG is the author of the spellbinding memoir THE CONCUBINE'S CHILDREN: PORTRAIT OF A FAMILY DIVIDED. This book won numerous awards and was on the Canadian bestseller list for 100 weeks. Denise lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children. KIM PHUC is now happily married with two children and lives in Ajax, Canada. She is a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO to 'spread the message of the need for reconciliation, mutual understanding, dialogue and negotiation to replace confrontation and violence'. She is also the founder of the Chicago-based Kim Phuc Foundation to help child victims of war.
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When I first ordered this book, I knew it was going to be heart wrenching, and hard to read. But what I didn’t expect was to feel my heart actually break, and to tear up countless times whilst reading this. Denise Chong has written in such a way that it’s almost like you’re there. Although the writing seems professional, distant and almost surgical, there’s still something about it that really wrenches your heart, slowly cuts the heart strings one by one, and makes you ache. I’ve read books about war before, but never a non fiction one like this. Reading this has really changed my perspective on a lot of things, and it’s scary to think that this revelation came only about 18% into the book.
The more I read of this book, a chapter at a time, the more I feel sick to my stomach. To see how everything happened throughout Vietnam, and how the war affected them, and their own government, makes this a really hard read. Continuing to read how the injustice in Vietnam continued to affect Kim Phuc throughout the years, continuing into her adult life was just unfair. So many tears came to my eyes reading the words on the page, and it was heart breaking. It was heart breaking to see her own government use her for their own selfish gain, because of this horrible thing that happened to her. I just couldn’t believe it; I couldn’t believe it at all. What I was reading was just. Unbelievable. Heart wrenching. But also awe-inspiring. Phuc went through so much, and yet she still stood so strong, and did what she could to be her own person, and I just. Felt so inspired reading this.
There was so much in this that I want to talk about from this book, but I want to keep my review relatively short because there’s no way I could ever do this beautiful book justice. This book is going to haunt my nightmares; the way that this was written merely puts into perspective the victim and survivor’s view of the war. The images painted in my mind through this was horrifying. But also, Kim Phuc’s story is one of hope. Inspiration. One that shows the true amount of forgiveness, and how forgiveness and hope can be healing.
Kim Phuc’s story is not one that should be thought of in a bad light. It should not be thought of with pity, or as just the girl in the photo. Kim Phuc should be remembered for the work she has done, for the hope and forgiveness she has inspired within thousands, maybe millions of people. She should be thought of with hope. Her name should be synonymous with inspiration and hope.
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