First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

July 31, 2012
By joejen05 BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
joejen05 BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

First They Killed My Father was a pulse raising book, you were coastally wondering what might happen next to the Ung family. Loung was a five-year-old girl in a middle-class family in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, when the communist Khmer Rouge took over their country in the 1970`s. You feel loungs confusion as soldiers force her family and others from their city. You are there with her as her family struggles to stay alive and healthy together as the Khmer Rouge takes over. Not just their city but most of Cambodia.

Moving from small village to small village Loung becomes tired and weak and complains that she does not want to move on. But forced by her parents she is told not to speak a word of where they have came from. Pa, loungs father worked for the government and if the Khmer Rouge found out they would kill Pa. I felt the fear that Loung expressed as she told us about losing her family. But I also felt the loved they expressed for each other. This family clings to each other for support, but is slowly torn apart. The older boys are sent to a labor camp; the oldest girl is sent away and dies. Eventually, her mother sends three of the remaining four children away because she can no longer support them. But she keeps her youngest daughter Geak. The girls are obedient and do what their mother has asked of them. Loung and her sisters end up at an all girls working camp and tell the leader that they are orphans. Lounge did not work for very long because soon after even though she was very young she was then sent to become a child soldier. Every once and awhile Loung would convince one of the soldiers to let her see her sisters and mother. But her mother was not around for very long. Her and baby geak diapered one day, later Loung found out they have been killed. I felt the sadness and heart break from Loung how she expressed much pain it caused her from having her family slowly die and or drift apart. I learned a handful of information about the Cambodian civil war. It was so raw and descriptive.
Loung’s book is characterized by simple language and first person narrative memoir. It was a little slow at times but would pick up quickly it felt as if you were there with Loung. I see that she focuses on surroundings and what’s going on around her and little things here and there and I like how she does that. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a short easy yet entertaining read. It is an amazing book.

The author's comments:
This is a review for my summer project.

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