Lydia Presley'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 24, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: coming-of-age, non-fiction, 2012, memoirs
Read on April 23, 2012

I was blown away by the story contained in this book.

To give you some idea of context - I was born in 1976. The year I was born Loung Ung was five years old and living in Phenom Penh, Cambodia. Her life was relatively good (although nothing like mine here in the States). Her prize possession was a red dress. She had six siblings, and a father and mother who loved her.

Then the Civil War taking place in Cambodia stepped in and became personal for Loung and her family (and millions of other Cambodians). 1/4th of the population was killed - but that's something we're not taught about here. So thank goodness that there are books out there that record the story so those who died are not forgotten.

While I was being fussed and cooed over, Loung was dealing with starvation, attempted rape, the murders of those close to her, and illnesses which were ravaging her body. She was being trained in combat, her mind filled with fear, and forced to leave her family and adapt to conditions which I pull back in revulsion to think of. And she tells her whole story - crystal clear - in First They Killed My Father.

This is such a charged memoir. It's hard to recommend because the read is so tough, but I couldn't put it down. I think you'll find the only critique (or at least the only one I have) is that the story is told in a bit of a sing-song simplistic way, but it doesn't distract from the power of the story itself.
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