When soldiers arrive at his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock 'n' roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.
Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp. Working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.
One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand - and steal food to keep the other kids alive.
This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.
Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.
©2012 Patricia McCormick (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
What an awful book to listen to. I'm sure the story is inspiring but listening to someone speak pidgin English is not my thing.
Yes this was a remarkable story told honestly about survival during the khmer rouge killing fields days of Cambodia's dark hour.
I liked this man (boy) Arn and his energy, intelligence and drive to survive. Also his humanity and generosity.
It felt like it was Arn himself speaking. very convincing performance. Heartfelt.
The entire book was moving. It was an unbelievable epic of man's cruelty to man and the survival of one boy admidst the chaos and unhumanity,
the presentation of the young man's story, the reality of the material
Books from the Nazi occupation in WWII. The horrors of madmen do not diminish and continue.
The final scene where he was finally able to begin the huge task of processing the horribleness of what had happened to him, and to let the toxicity that was forced on him to escape.
The truth that Kamer Rouge perpetrated on Cambodian people
This is a very important story, it is important to hear and to learn from it. Somehow this kind of craziness must be ended where whole innocent peoples are subject to this type atrocity.
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