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Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing, and Double Happiness Paperback – April 17, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“You can’t help liking and admiring this young woman. . . . [A] lively, humorous account . . . when you arrive at the hard-earned happy ending, it’s with a sigh of deep relief.” (Washington Post)

“Loung Ung makes Lulu in the Sky shimmer with renewal after the Cambodian killing fields” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Ung’s writing is clear-headed, honest and compelling; much of what she describes, from the brutalities she and her family endured to the ways it steered her adult life, is deeply affecting.” (Kirkus)

From the Back Cover

Concluding the trilogy that started with her bestselling memoir, First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung illuminates her struggle to reconcile with her past while moving forward toward happiness.

When readers first met Loung Ung in her critically acclaimed memoir First They Killed My Father, she was a young, innocent child in Cambodia. But forced by the Khmer Rouge into the life of a child soldier, she soon found herself locked in a desperate struggle for survival in Cambodia's notorious killing fields. In Lucky Child, her life took a turn. As a refugee in Vermont, she grappled with post-traumatic stress, cultural assimilation roadblocks, and the abandonment of her sister in Cambodia.

Now, Lulu in the Sky tells the next chapter in Ung's life, revealing her daily struggle to keep darkness and depression at bay while she attends college and falls in love with Mark Priemer, a Midwestern archetype of American optimism. Lulu in the Sky is the story of Ung's tentative steps into love, activism, and marriage—a journey that takes her to a Cambodian village to reconnect with her mother's spirit, to a vocation focused on healing the landscape of her birth, and to the patience and unconditional support of a very special man.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062091913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062091918
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Lulu In The Sky" is the third installment by Loung Ung.
Her first novel "First They Killed My Father" tells of the atrocities of the Cambodian Genocide that started in the mid-1970s, harsh survival against all odds, and the loss of family & life as she knew it.
Her second novel, "Lucky Child" describes arriving to a foreign land and starting over. But starting over is not as easy as it seems. The painful loss and memories from Cambodia are still fresh and burned into her memory. Loung struggles to find herself, make friends, and please her brother and sister-in-law.

In "Lulu In The Sky" we see Loung move from victim to victim advocate. With the patient love and support of college boyfriend and future husband, Mark, she finds the courage to confront the evils of the past. No longer an awkward immigrant girl, Loung blossoms into a confident and strong voice for battered women, veteran soldiers, and eventually for Cambodia. With a pen and paper Loung exorcises ghosts of the past that have haunted her, tells the world about the Cambodia genocide, and keeps the memory of her parents and lost siblings alive.
"Lulu In the Sky" is a powerful novel, which showcases the human spirit's ability to overcome the unthinkable, the invaluable contributions that immigrants bring to secondary countries, and the power of love. A highly inspirational and memorable novel indeed!

*** On a side note, my in-laws are from Cambodia and experienced the Cambodian genocide firsthand. The following is a portion of text that I wrote to the author after reading her books:
"Loung, I am forever indebted to you.
Read more ›
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This book isn't nearly as good as Ung's other two. There's big clumps of Cambodian history that haven't been worked into the text so there are clumsy info-dumps throughout, and I have a sense that it may have been pulled together more because her publisher asked for it than really having a story to tell. At least, it probably could have been told about 30 percent shorter, which would have kept it a lot sharper.

That said, it's still nice to hear how Ung grew up and overcame some very serious issues to get married. Her husband, Mark, is a saint - certainly one of the world's most patient boyfriends. It's a good lesson in how horribly long the shadows cast by this kind of trauma can be, and not many authors would be courageous enough to share this.
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The first time I saw Loung Ung she was being interviewed on late night TV just after her first book was published. The interview was so riveting I went out the next day and ordered her book First They Killed my Father. It was an unbelievable experience both emotionally and educationally. I am older than she is but knew little more about the genocide in Cambodia than what I heard in history classes. Recently I saw a small blurb in a People magazine about Angelina Jolie making a movie of her book and it led me to her two sequels about the rest of her life. I would like to thank Ms Ung for inviting me into her life and the lives of her amazing family and for putting faces on the people of her homeland.
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Format: Paperback
“Probably to many in the world, this patch of earth was just another village among many small, dusty villages. And at first glance, like many small villages, it looked impoverished, crowded, and populated with thatched roof huts built on wooden stilts. But if visitors were to stay, if they learned to navigate around half-naked toddlers, squawking chickens, wandering pigs, and barking dogs to our psah, our outdoor market, and meet the people who called this place home, they would change their minds.”

A few months ago I read and reviewed Loung Ung’s excellent and heartbreaking memoir, First They Killed My Father. A refugee from Cambodia’s killing fields, Ung was a “lucky” member of her family, one of only a handful that were able to emigrate to the United States. As is revealed in Lulu in the Sky, Ms. Ung still had many obstacles to overcome in order to make peace with her past.

As you can tell from the first paragraph, Loung Ung has a gift for writing and story-telling. There is such a terrific sense of place in her writing, which is rich, warm and even humorous at times. Lulu in the Sky is the continuation of Ms. Ung’s story, beginning in her college years, when she tries hard to be the independent American girl. Unfortunately, her harrowing past continues to cause her to shy away from getting too close to people. Honest and forthright, Loung Ung’s memoir is an excellent look at one young woman’s journey from fear and alienation to courageous independence and finally, love.

This book is important not just for Ms. Ung’s personal story, but to make everyone aware of the horrors and after-affects of war. Given her talent, I sincerely hope she continues writing. Perhaps historical fiction will enable her to continue to be a voice for the millions who live in fear as a result of war.
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Loung has graduated from college and has found her true love. But there is still another journey before she can find peace in herself. I highly recommend all three of her books. If you think you are having a bad day, you should read these books and appreciate what you have.
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