Alicia's Reviews > Never Fall Down

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
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Jun 23, 12

bookshelves: abuse, boy, historical, multicultural, graderecommendations
Read from June 21 to 23, 2012

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 tragic and heartbreaking. Over and over again, death and emptiness are repeated.

Not until the very end do you discover that Arn is actually a real survivor of the Cambodian genocide, saved by an American who brough Arn and two other boys to the United States. Patricia McCormick relates his story after much research, but with so much trauma, other pieces must be pieced together creating historical fiction that is so close to reality, it's startling. Still, I never got used to the broken English narration that too me tried to hard to be authentic, yet was convincing. Truth be told, would it have been more compelling another way, I'm not sure. As with Sold and Purple Heart, relaying a piece of history is cakewalk for McCormick. I love the fact that they're short and accessible and many students, even reluctant readers, would pick them up because they're not overwhelmingly thick but they sure pack a powerful punch.
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