Ferien_uk's Reviews > First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
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Apr 09, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: asia, khmer-rouge, cambodia
Read on January 01, 2010 , read count: 1

I enjoyed reading the book and felt that Ung was a good writer. As the book is based on her life between the ages of five and ten, some of the memories may not been very accurate and can be put down to her vivid imagination. I don’t think you can take the book as 100% accurate because it’s highly unlikely she would be able to remember early childhood memories in that much detail. However, it does give a picture of what life was like under the Khmer Rouge and some of the experiences that people went through. Ung lived through a variety of different experiences, from working in the fields to being trained as a child solder for the Khmer Rouge. She may have used a bit of artistic licence and taken some liberties in order to make the story more interesting, but I think that doesn’t matter so much as the overall story.

Ung has received some criticism for her portrayal of the Khmer people, but she is just telling of her own experiences, mostly from the viewpoint of a 5-year-old child, who probably will have limited views of life. She also comes from a fairly wealthy family and so likely to be quite naive about people from other backgrounds.

The book has also been criticised by some Cambodians as being largely inaccurate: “Her accounts of the Khmer Rouge and events that took place were similar to my parents and fellow Khmers’ accounts. Sadly, I wonder if she collected those events from other victims and is just playing the role.”

I think if you want to get a good in-depth understanding of life in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, it is a good idea to read more than one book. As this is only the second one I have read, I felt like I learned a lot from it, but my view of it might change after having read more.

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Quotes Ferien_uk Liked

Loung Ung
“I have to go to the toilet,” I tell Ma urgently after dinner.
“You have to go in the woods.”
“But where?”
“Anywhere you can find. Wait, I’ll get you some toilet paper.” Ma goes away and comes back with a bunch of paper sheets in her hand. My eyes widen in disbelief, “Ma! It’s money. I can’t use money!”
“Use it, it is of no use to us anymore.”
Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-2 of 2) </span> <span class="smallText">(2 new)</span>

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Natalie Darais i think that is completely incorrect if you had pretty much half of your family die i think you would remember it extremely vividly

message 2: by Marty (new)

Marty Totally disagree , I can remember even simple things when I was 5 yrs old , if my staved and were murdered I think I would remember that

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