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Never Fall Down

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  4,791 ratings  ·  1,233 reviews
This National Book Award nominee from two-time finalist Patricia McCormick is the unforgettable story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge.

Based on the true story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, and authentically told from his point of view as a young boy, this is an achingly raw
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Hardcover, 216 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
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Mock Printz 2013
36th out of 92 books — 487 voters
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormickThe Translator by Daoud HariBlack Dog of Fate by Peter BalakianTears of the Desert by Halima BashirThey Poured Fire on Us From the Sky by Benjamin Ajak
Books for Genocide Project
1st out of 104 books — 33 voters


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Community Reviews

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jo
general piece of advice to anyone who approaches the blank box with the intention of writing a pleasing-to-the-eye review: do not read one of mike reynolds' reviews first. it will make you walk away from the computer in utter discouragement.

arn chorn-pond was a young child when the khmer rouge decided to unleash on cambodia a mayhem that resulted in the extermination of one quarter of the population. notice that the khmer rouge were themselves cambodian. since the book is told from arn's point
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Alyse Liebovich
I knew about a movie titled The Killing Fields for years, but never knew that the movie was about one of the world's worst genocidal atrocities. This past summer I spent some time in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia during a month-long backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. We went to the Killing Fields at the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, and I walked around in a stunned silence as I listened to the audioguide in my ear describe what I was looking at: The Killing Tree, where the Khmer R ...more
Newengland
As was true with her National Book Award finalist, Sold, Patricia McCormick uses her fiction writing skills and her journalistic writing ability to share a child victim's harrowing tale. In this case it is Arn Chorn-Pond, survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Never Fall Down, named for one of the first things the captured boy learned to survive, travels the full arc of his experience, from the last days of normalcy before the Khmer Rouge takeover through the years of captivity, force ...more
Erica - Bonner Springs Library
There are books that are difficult to read because of violence, killing or something else but you can't stop reading because you want to make sure someone is okay. I experienced it with A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah and I experienced it again with this book.

Arn's family is torn apart when the Khmer Rouge soldiers arrive in his village. Sent to a work camp he does everything he can to keep himself and others alive. He is recruited to play in an instrument when he's never played a note in his l
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Susana
The rich, they chase you if you steal their thiNgs. Poor people, they the one who share.

All the old clothes, our old lifE, one big pile, is on fire now. And gone.

"To live with nothing in your stomach and a gun in your face, is that liVing or is that dying a little bit every day?"

Be like the grass. BEnd low, bend low, then bend lower. The wind blow one way, you blow that way.

But now the Khmer Rouge, they win. They kill [my] family in my mind.

Death is just my daily liFe now.

I let him
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Paul  Hankins
"As a child, I never imagined good people in the world. . ."

In 1979, fourteen-year old, Arn Chorn-Pond, wandered into a United Nations camp on the border of Thailand. He was adopted by a minister. A year later, Arn Chorn, now Arn Chorn-Pond was a New Hampshire high school student.

In Patricia McCormick's newest release, we read about Arn Chorn-Pond's experiences as an eleven-year-old in "The Killing Fields." Forced by Khmer Rouge soldiers to play their revolution songs, Arn must learn not only to
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Book Angel Emma
Review by Shelly


I have to say that I do not know a lot about Cambodia and the war that went on there so was fully engrossed from page one. The book is written as Arn and takes on his speech patterns and language which did take me awhile to get used to but once I did it was like he was speaking to you through the pages and you went on his journey with him. And what a journey it was. Sometimes it was brutal and was very hard to read especially when it focussed on the children and how they were tor
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Sonja
One day, Arn is a street-wise child - catching frogs, gambling a little, and sneaking into movies in his city in Cambodia. Then, the Khmer Rouge took control of the country, forced Arn and all the citizens into work camps. His life became defined by starvation, endless labor, and death. Arn spent four years in the heart of what became known as The Killing Fields, surviving partly because of his skill as a musician and partly because he told himself just never fall down.

Because it is told wholly
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Amy Sherman
The usual questions driving personal reviews--did you like this book; what did you like/not like about it; why did or didn't you--must, I feel, be dispensed with in this case. There are two questions I do feel are worth asking:

First, is the book worthwhile of its topic?
And the answer of course is yes. To explain the question, however, let me say that I hesitated to begin reading this, confused and not sure exactly how the book would unfold--was it fiction or non-fiction? Why was it written by an
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Anne Osterlund
Arn isn’t satisfied with being ordinary. He’s always striving to become “just a little bit famous.” When the Khmer Rouge march into his city and order all of the citizens to march out, this is the only element of Arn’s life that doesn’t change.

Separated from his aunt, his sisters, and ultimately everyone Arn can remember from his previous life, he is forced to work the rice fields of Cambodia. To pretend he doesn’t know about the bodies piling up behind the Mango Grove. And eventually, to play m
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Louise
My Review:

Arn Chorn-Pond is only 11 years old. In his town of Battambang, Cambodia the people come out at night and make music. Music is everywhere. Rich people and poor people alike congregate together and play radios, record players and eight-track cassettes. In Arn’s town, “music is like air, always there.” The men and ladies stroll through the park to catch the newest songs. Men play cards while ladies sell mangoes, noodles, wristwatches and other wares. Kids fly kites and eat ice cream, it’
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Lara
Really powerful and horrifying book. I read Chanrithy Him's When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge a couple years ago, so I had an idea of what to expect from this book, but the knowing didn't make the reading any easier. Though at first I had a little trouble with the dialect, I quickly got used to it, and for the most part, it stayed consistent enough that I completely forgot about it in the midst of Arn's story. I think Patricia McCormick has done a fantastic job of transl ...more
Sovichea Kon
This small 216 pages book, I give it a five. Even though this book is short, but it described a long journey of how did Arn Survive at the darkest age of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia 3 years 9 months and 20days. This book is totally awesome and can introduce us to the feeling of people that time. Try it. I bet you really like it and I feel like I am him by the plot that Arn escaped and got adopted in America.
NotoriousGOT
Read this from start to finish in one sitting and is now the second book to ever make me physically cry. I had no pre-existing knowledge of the Cambodian Genocide and now I after reading this I feel embarrassed that I didn't know about the atrocities committed. This is an important novel, one that I believe everyone, young adult and adult alike, should read.
Marg
Never Fall Down is a difficult but powerful read. Set in Cambodia during the time of Pol Pot and The Killing Fields, it is based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond whose childhood changes overnight when the Khymer Rouge, a radical Communist regime, marched whole urban populations in the country out into rural areas and labor camps. He is eleven years old at the time.

A glimpse of his former childhood with family, friends and normal activities turns suddenly into a harrowing account of his time i
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Tracie
11-year-old Arn relates an achingly powerfully story of hardship and survival under the sadistic Khmer Rouge regime. Based on the true experiences of Cambodian activist Arn Chorn-Pond.

Once again, former journalist Patricia McCormick has penned a deeply moving novel rooted in a gritty reality. This is a difficult read, as the author doesn't shy away from exposing the horrors of war, but an important book.
Jabiz Raisdana
I have been reading this book for the last few hours, and it hasn't been easy. Not because the language is difficult or the "plot" complex, but because it is a harrowing grotesque look at the events of the Cambodia genocide in the 1970's.

As an English department, we have discussed whether this book might be too harsh for MS students. And my first reaction is yes. It is. Too harsh. But I feel we must admit that atrocities like these are too harsh for any human being to witness, and that is exact
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Rhiannon
If you want a book that engulfs you into the brain of the main character with a big dose of reality, this is for you! This book will have you gasping every page, and as appalling as the subject is, it's what really happened. The book will take you on a page-turning journey to find the truth and you feel like you're seeing it and experiencing it with your own eyes. While the book is based on a true story, the book is not written by the man himself. however, it feels as if it is. It feels as if yo ...more
Ti
The Short of It:

McCormick delivers a heartbreaking account of survival.

The Rest of It:

Never Fall Down is about Arn Chorn-Pond and how he survived the Cambodian Genocide under the Khmer Rouge. I know many of you have read about the Cambodian Genocide before. There are lots of books on the subject, but what struck me about this one is that it’s tied to music and it’s told in novel form, but based on true events.

Arn and his family are forced to leave their home with thousands of others, to march al
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Jill Adams
Probably McCormick's best thus far--

I'm not going to give details, for that might ruin parts of the book. Jump in.
Sayantan Mukhuti
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth
Had a similar feel to The Things They Carried. Do like! (Longer review to come)
Mara
Before this book, I only had a vague idea of the Cambodian genocide and the Khmer Rouge. While reading this book I had to look up the background and history of almost everything mentioned by the narrator. Needless to say, I spent two days with many depressing thoughts.

This is a first person account of Arn Chorn Park, a boy taken to a work camp during the Khmer Rouge regime. Arn transforms from a normal child to a survivor in very extreme circumstances. He witnesses and commits horrific acts of
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Pamela
“To live with nothing in your stomach and a gun in your face . . . Is that living or is that dying a little bit every day?”

Many adult POW memoirs have touched me deeply, bringing tears to my eyes reading about the physical and emotional pain laid bare within the pages of their brutal experiences. Reading Arn Chorn-Pond’s memoir, written in novel form by Patricia McCormick through Arn’s voice and dialect as a young Cambodian child, cut me so deeply I sobbed uncontrollably.

“So hungry all the tim
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BAYA Librarian
Arn is 11 years old in a small town in Cambodia in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge soldiers arrive and his world changes. This is the story of the next four years of his life- being taken to a re-education/farming camp, the murders and atrocities that happened around him, trying to survive, and ultimately being forced to become a soldier for the Khmer Rouge in their retreat. He finally escapes to a refugee camp in Thailand, where an American adopts him and two other Cambodian boys and takes them back ...more
Alicia
It took me quite a while to get used to the voice of Arn, the main character, a Cambodian boy who has been taken and forced to work in the country during the Cambodian genocide under the watchful gazes of the Khmer Rouge. During the four years he spent working, playing music, and trying to keep himself alive, he was separated from his aunt and siblings and tried to form relationships, but with so much death and destruction, many of these relationships ended in death. For a young boy, this was tr ...more
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: NEVER FALL DOWN by Patricia McCormick, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, May 2012, 224p., ISBN: 978-0-06-173093-1

“With their hearts they turned to each other’s heart for refuge”
-- Jackson Browne, “Before the Deluge”

“The Khmer Rouge, they want the name, the background of everyone here. But the Khmer Rouge themself, they all the same. All black uniform. All grim face. All name ‘Comrade.’ Comrade Soldier. Comrade Elder. Comrade Cook.
“In my mind, I give them names. The one who steal is Com
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Suzanne
One of the most amazing things about this book is the voice for Arn Chorn-Pond created by Patricia McCormick. The accent as she writes it rings so true; the vocabulary sounds realistic for an English language learner; and the blending of his biographical recollections from interviews with her and the story that she weaves from that with her research so seamlessly incorporated is heartrending.

Arn learns early in the Khmer Rouge coup that falling down equates to death, so he does whatever it takes
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Gary
Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, "Never Fall Down" is a raw and powerful tale of his childhood spent during a time of war.

Taken from the book, "When Arn Chorn-Pond was eleven, the Khmer Rouge, a radical Communist regime, came to power in Cambodia, herding the entire population to work camps in the countryside. Families were separated, and everyone, including children, was forced to work long, grueling hours digging ditches and growing rice. Tens of thousands of people dies from starvat
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Marj
What sort of book do you pick up at an airport bookshop?

Fortunately for me, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I picked up 'Never fall Down' by Patricia McCormick, the story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who today is a peace activist and motivational speaker. McCormick narrates Arn's story when, as a young Cambodian boy soldier, he is forced to leave his home, to witness horrifying events and make excruciatingly difficult decisions as he firstly flees from the Khmer Rouge, survives by learning to play a musical instr
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Epic Reads Book Club: This book is hard to read. . . 2 42 Jan 25, 2014 07:00PM  
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Patricia McCormick is a journalist and writer. She graduated from Rosemont College in 1978, followed by an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1986 and an M.F.A. from New School University in 1999. Her first novel for teens was Cut, about a young woman who self-injures herself. This was followed by My Brother's Keeper in 2005, about a boy struggling with his brother's ad ...more
More about Patricia McCormick...
Cut Sold Purple Heart My Brother's Keeper Just Add One Chinese Sister (p)

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“You show you care, you die.

You show you fear, you die.

You show nothing, maybe you live.”
11 likes
“Long time I been on my own, but now really I'm alone. I survive the killing, the starving, all the hate of the Khmer Rouge, but I think maybe now I will die of this, of broken heart.” 9 likes
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