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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.
A required reading for an adult multicultural literature class. Difficult to put down, at the same time difficult to read the horrific reality of war. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Sue K
As advertised. Good quality , but slow delivery. Would not use again.Published 1 month ago by robert borneo
This novel was very easy to read, and packed an emotional punch like no other. Though heartbreaking sometimes, I really enjoyed the story.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
I have enjoyed everything I've ready by Patricia McCormick. Her books are learning experiences about parts of the world I will never experience and they open the door on suffering... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeanne Patterson
I didn't want to stop reading. I lived in Cambodia in 1963 which made this novel so poignant. I loved how the author used broken English.Published 1 month ago by L. Basler
Gripping story of the inhumane treatment of the Cambodian people during the Khmer Rouge regime. Told from the perspective of a Cambodian child soldier who defied all the odds and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by JLG McKinney