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on 7 January 2018
While reading this book, I was in tears. The dreadful tragedies Loung Ung and her family endured was beyond belief. There bravery and fortitude during the brutality of the wicked Khmer Rouge was an inspiration. Not forgetting the Cambodian people, who were forced to do their bidding, curtesy of Pol Pot. It makes one feel very humble and appreciate what we in the western world have and don’t have to suffer starvation and torture like Loung Ung,her family and the Cambodian people.
This is a first hand experience seen through the eyes of a five year old girl, who was witness to the dreadful things that were perpetrated by this cruel regime. This is a book well worth reading, letting you know what other people have to endure in other countries while we sit on our comfortable homes.
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on 4 March 2016
This is such an amazing book, everyone should read it. The first two chapters are slow as she describes her life in the city, but that sets the scene as you realise what kind of life they are used to. I think everyone will be able to relate to this book in one way or another and you will see your family members in her family members. I felt so sad reading parts of this book and other times I had to cover the adjacent page to stop myself reading ahead because I was so keen to know what happened. I read this book in three sittings, I would love to read it again but because I know what happens to everyone, it might make for difficult reading the second time. My advice is not to look at the photos in the middle of the book until the end, as it gives away what happens. I bought this second hand and found the pages to be quite faded even though it was described in good quality, I would advise you buy new, I think I might buy a new version of this book as I am worried about the quality of the book I have. Overall, the book is amazing and moving and made me fearful for her and her family. It made me also think about people currently suffering war or having to leave their countries and experience hardship and realise that it is something that I would never be able to do, never mind at the authors age of around 5 when the war started. I do not think anyone will regret reading this book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 October 2015
This is a heart rending account of love and loss and of the horrendous consequences of the Khymer Rouge revolution in Cambodia during the second half of the 1970s. Through the eyes of Loung Ung, who was 5 years old when the Khymer Rouge force-evacuated the cities, you cannot help but feel for the people who suffered so much loss, tragedy, intense hardship and starvation.

Eventually, as refugees, Luong and her brother reached safety and a new life in the United States, although most of her family had to remain behind - reading this will open anyone's eyes to the plight of people desperate to get away from war and from the loss of everything they once knew and loved.

This is a very emotional, painful book to read, and I am very glad I can only imagine what it must have been like in those times. Luong Ung is a remarkable author, a true survivor from utter horror, and an inspiration
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on 22 March 2017
The line, "Hell is the impossibility of reason", from Platoon, kept running through my mind as I read this!

This is a story of war, a story of starvation, a story of suffering, but above all a story of a family! A daughter's story of her family and her love for her father, for her mother and for her siblings.

I thank the author for reminding me how the people we love matter more than anything else.

I highly recommend this book!
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on 11 January 2017
Following the story of a young boy as he searches for the closure he so desperately needs upon the death of his father in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this book is completing heart warming, as well as heart breaking.

At the same time as following Oscar's story, we are invited into the lives of the narrative of his grandparents that runs alongside Oscar's story throughout. The relationships that Oscar forms with those around him are beautiful, the way the reader naturally forms a protective attachment to this little boy is a true testament to the quality of this novel.

This book perfectly captures the emotion of a young boy coping with the inevitable depression at the sudden absence of his father, following the journey of someone simply searching for their place in a complicated adult world.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Give it a read.
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on 22 December 2017
Its hard to believe that this loving family could be reduced to peasants by the evil actions of the Khmer Rouge and worse still the parents both murdered and some of the children killed, the rest left to endure severe hardship and suffering at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime. Told through the eyes of a child by Loung Ung one could never get anywhere near to understand the pain unless it was you or the other thousands of people who suffered during this awful time of oppression by Pol Pot. It leaves you weeping ,sad and angry,but its a story well written and should be read by all.
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on 2 February 2014
I downloaded this to read whilst I was travelling in Cambodia and am so glad I did.

It's harrowing in parts, grim in others and will raise a lump in the most hardened of throats. It also helped me understand the Khmer people a bit better whilst I was there.

If you've visited the country then you'll understand what I mean when I say they are kind, brilliant, sassy and generous but there's an underlying distrust and sadness too. It's said that the entire population suffers from PSTD, even those born after the Khmer Rouge. I can believe it. It started with the Khmer Rouge and the same rhetoric (that you will read in the book) is being spouted now by those battling to take control of Cambodia once again. The trials are still ongoing. The Government is still corrupt. It is far from over for Cambodia.

A must read for anyone visiting Cambodia. And for anyone else who wants to 'remember'.
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on 18 April 2018
This isn't a type of book that I would normally choose to read but it was recommended by a friend and I'm glad that I took her advice. This is a book that immediately grabs hold of the reader and doesn't let go, and it will extract tears from even the driest of eyes. Who might enjoy reading it? Those travelling to Cambodia - especially if wandering off the beaten track. Creative writers - who might be particularly interested in the author's notes and comments on the use of voice and tense. And anyone who has read 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell - because the nightmare of 'Animal Farm' came to Ro Leap and a thousand other places.
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on 20 October 2017
Having recently been to Vietnam & Cambodia, I could picture some of the sights in my mind as they are described. This story is quite incredible & the scale of the genocide is harrowing. However, this wonderful book, tells the heart breaking story of Luong's experiences,through very young eyes and it is one essentially of survival, against all the odds.
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on 22 November 2015
I recently went to Cambodia and witnessed the killings fields and S-21. Loung Ung story is one of the most heartbreaking stories I've read. There are millions for stories of survivors that we can read and I have met Chum Mey and bou Meng and have read their survival stories. These two were tortured in S-21 and there stories were fascinating to read. Loung Ung story I have to say is brilliantly written and you really go through the journey of what she went through. It's a must read and really puts into perspective of how lucky we are, and how much suffering the people of Cambodia went through. Must read
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