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 difficult book to read because of the horrific events it recalls. I liked that it was written in dialect that makes it much more realistic.Published 1 month ago by caw1952
Wrenching true story of a young boy during an unbelievably cruel war. So many people forced to expose others/torture or kill them or be killed themselves, it makes one wonder how... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sarah Sue
Excellent story of the effect of the Khmer Rouge and its war on the citizens of Cambodia through the eyes of a young boy.Published 1 month ago by William M. Shores
Hard read because of the graphic inhumanity but I felt it was necessary to 'bear witness' to what had happened under the Khmer Rouge. We must remember so it doesn't repeat....Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Wow. A story so horrific that it makes one wish it were fiction. And the biggest battle is how to survive once you are saved.Published 2 months ago by Nelda