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Never Fall Down

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  11,127 ratings  ·  1,991 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
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
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Chatti My husband who knows Arn personally and have played music with him gave me the book to read. I was a bit turned off at first that Arn didn’t write it …moreMy husband who knows Arn personally and have played music with him gave me the book to read. I was a bit turned off at first that Arn didn’t write it himself but hubby said, “it sounds just like him. She got it down to a t.” (less)
Sarah I actually really enjoyed the book. I understand what Dawn said, it was very gruesome and hard to handle at times, but I think that it was worth it. T…moreI actually really enjoyed the book. I understand what Dawn said, it was very gruesome and hard to handle at times, but I think that it was worth it. This book is based on true events, and it is important to know about our world and its history. People should know what happens during these genocidal events and then we can learn from them. You should know that these things actually happened to people and still happen to people in modern times. I understand how it is terrible to read about what people had to go through simply to survive through a day, but think of the people that actually had to live through these circumstances, it is pretty safe to say that they had to go through so much worse. (less)

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  11,127 ratings  ·  1,991 reviews

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Alyse Liebovich
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit
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
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part audiobook via overdrive app, part paperback

“You show you care, you die.

You show you fear, you die.

You show nothing, maybe you live.”

“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.”

“All the time you fighting, you think only of how to survive. All the time you survive, you wonder why you don’t die. But now my life can be something different. Now, in Ameri
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-in-2012, ya
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
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
Nov 29, 2013 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
I... I really don't know how to review this. Or rate it. Will need to give it some thought... ...more
Neil (or bleed)
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, books-i-own
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story was heart breaking. It is based on a true story of a little boy who managed to survive the 1970's genocide in Cambodia, many members of his family were not so lucky. He learned harsh life lessons and used that knowledge to get him through some horrific trials.

The author is a journalist. I thought that telling this story from the POV of a child was brilliant, even though it took me a bit of time to get used to the choppy pigeon English. My thought is that maybe the pigeon English wasn
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't say that this was an easy read due to the horrific subject matter but it was a quick read and hard to put down. It's quite hard to get used to, to start with, as it's written from a child's point of view and in pidgin English but the subject matter is extremely gruesome throughout. It's based on a true story of a survivor of what happened in Cambodia whom the author extensively interviewed so is like a mixture between fact and fiction. Very glad that I have read it despite the unsettling s ...more
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
McCormick writes a novelized version of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge. Somehow Arn manages to ingratiate himself with others, first through music and then through volleyball. The story is heart-wrenching and very brutal/violent: life was cheap in Southeast Asia in the mid-1970s. I did not really like the pidgin English used either.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book “Never Fall Down”, It’s a book about teenage Cambodia boy Arn who telling his story about running away from his home because of the war. And he also lost his family while running away from war. He did a lot bad thing and trying to be famous to protests himself from being killing.
Thing that I like about this book is that very emotional book and interesting book. I like this book because it kind like the type of my level reading. And another thing that I like about this book is
Brendan Creaser
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The theme of this book is never give up hope. Very strong and good book, definitely recommend it.
Amy Sherman
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-reviewed
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
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
James Housworth
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Great story, weak writing. The author made an intentional choice to write in short, choppy sentences with grammatical errors as a way of capturing the voice of Arn Chorn-Pond, but much of the time I felt like it limited the depth of the story rather than enhancing it.

It was also quite graphic for a novel intended to be read by young teens and preteens:

"Then, very quick, he slice the skin and pull out the liver...The kneeling guy, he's still living; his liver not inside of him anymore - in front
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: guest-reviews
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
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I could have probably finished this in one sitting. However the story and the horrifying aspects of the crimes comitted by the Khmer Rouge made me stop reading once in a while. I just wanted to put the book down now and then and think about what this must have meant for the people who had to live under this "rulership". What did it mean for the children, the mums, the rich, the poor, even the people who were part of this movement?
It is highly disturbing and yet so important to read about it. I a
Elle (ellexamines)
4 stars. This is one of the most impactful memoirs I’ve ever read.

Never Fall Down chronicles the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, a survivor of the communist revolution in Cambodia. This revolution led to the deaths of around 1/4 Cambodia’s population, a higher proportion of the population than almost any other genocide.

In terms of emotional impact, the book hits hard. We see the journey from relative peace to constant violence firsthand here, and it’s just as shocking as you’d expect.

The writin
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
(2.5) This striking novel about the Killing Fields of Cambodia is based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who was abducted and forced into life as a child soldier. I can see this being an eye-opening read for mature adolescents, but the simplistic style and annoying pidgin English (e.g. “You show you care, you die. You show fear, you die. You show nothing, maybe you live”) caused me to lose interest about a quarter of the way through. I think I would prefer a non-fiction account; indeed, it i ...more
Brandon Lu
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is actually so good. The narrator tells it as if it were his own mind. Thus, the entirety of the book is written in broken English. While reading this book, I found myself chuckling at the comedic scenarios the narrator would describe. Whether it’s putting rocks in his napping friends mouth or talking about other children’s diarrhea, I always laughed at the randomness of the novel. The author manages to portray a serious topic and plot whilst adding little bits of comedy, making the bo ...more
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I dont know much about Cambodia, and the style of writing put me off to begin with. However now that I can reflect on this book, it is a good basic knowledge of what it would have been like in the late 1970s in Cambodia. There is violence and death but it is written from the point of view of a child, so the description is quite factual and not grotesque.
I want sure how this novel would conclude, but it was dealt with very well.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
loved it from start to finish, an amazing comfort read but still contains many places to take notes and dig deeper.
Shannon Hosking
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teachers and 15+
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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’
Veronica ( moon & coffee. )
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-fic-recs
A | No words. It’ll take me a bit to process this novel.
***Originally posted to: Bookish Book Blog |YA and Adult Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Guest Posts, Giveaways and news! ^___^

Never Fall Down was one absolutely devastating read. I was not prepared for its searing authenticity and intensely emotional message; it took me by surprise, broke my heart to pieces and left me drained and breathless, but also very satisfied and enriched. Reading this book was an experience like no other. Profoundly harrowing and cathartic, Never Fall Down tells a true
Ericka Clou
This book was interesting and managed to keep me reading despite its very depressing topic of the Cambodian Civil War and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge rule from 1975-1979.

McCormick writes the "true story" of Arn Chorn-Pond, and it is his engaging character that kept me reading. I was a bit confused by the book though since it's unclear to me how much or what McCormick contributed to his story since this book is not literary. Why isn't it a nonfiction book about Chorn-Pond with a co-writer?
Richie Partington
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it
It seems as if Patricia McCormick intended on having her book pull her readers in by some of the very emotional things happening to the main character Arn, but in some cases she pushed her readers away. Throughout most of her book she kept her readers guessing and wondering what would happen next to Arn, making you not want to put it down.

Arn Chorn-Pond is the main character of this historical fiction book who lived and survived his life through the Cambodian Genocide. It really demonstrates th
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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

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“You show you care, you die.

You show you fear, you die.

You show nothing, maybe you live.”
“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.” 17 likes
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