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When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge Paperback – April 17, 2001
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Before this proverb could come true, Chanrithy had to watch her mother, father, and five of her brothers and sisters die, murdered by the Khmer Rouge or fatally weakened by malnutrition, disease, and overwork. Now living in Oregon, where she studies posttraumatic stress disorder among Cambodian survivors, Chanrithy has written a first-person account of the killing fields that's remarkable for both its unflinching honesty and its refusal to despair. In wrenchingly immediate prose, she describes atrocities the rest of the world might prefer to ignore: her sick yet still breathing mother, thrown along with corpses into a well; a pregnant woman beaten to death with a spade, the baby struggling inside her; a sister impossibly swollen with edema, her starving body leaking fluid from the webbing between her toes.
The mind retreats from horrors like these--and yet what emerges most strongly from this memoir is the triumph of life. Chanrithy is determined to honor her pledge to the dying Chea, to study medicine so she can help others live. When Broken Glass Floats accomplishes the same goal in a different way. "As a survivor, I want to be worthy of the suffering that I endured," Chanrithy writes; by giving such eloquent voice to her dead, she has proven herself more than worthy of her suffering--and theirs. --Chloe Byrne --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Both girls were daughters of relatively privileged families who were part of the forced evacuation of Phnom Phen. The author of this one, Ms. Him, was a few years older, and this slight age difference provides some different perspective. In addition, Ms. Him's family evacuated in a different geographical direction, which also affected her family's displacement over those years. The author shows how, as a child, she demonstrated incredible determination and courage in the face of the most horrendous conditions imaginable -- she even escapes one work camp as she was near death from dysentary.
This book provides another necessary and compelling autobiography of a horrible time in history.
The plight of Chanrithy Him through the relentless suffering of the Khmer Rouge is no less than heart sickening. You will discover a profound sense of respect for her and the victims and survivors of the infamous Pol Pot regime.
This book has a similar approach to another - "First They Killed My Father" - by Loung Ung. Both books command you to continue reading. I could not put them down.
All in all, a superb work on a less than superb topic - required reading for anyone interested in Asian culture, human suffering, and in a surprising way - human survival.
The shortcoming of the book is that Chanrithy seemed to leave out certain stories untold, making the readers wonder what had happened. For example, her sister, Ra, was married to a total stranger when the Khmer Rouge stressed the need to increase the population. It was unclear to me how Ra ever got rid of the husband as he was never mentioned again in the book.
Overall, this is a good book which provides insights to the darkness of humanity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
She is a talented author who expresses a wide range of emotion without getting overwhelmed in it.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The author brings to life the experiences people were subjected to under a brutal regime. A wonderful combination of history and personal stories.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I would suggest you read this book first it will be like jumping into ice to get use to the cold. None other compares. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
Bought this for my history class, great book. Bought it used on here, surprised to find an autograph by Ms. Kim herself!Published 2 months ago by Aaron
I actually had trouble putting this book down. It was interesting reading it from the childs point of view. In New Zealand we were brainwashed about how the war was going. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Julia White
A beautifully written, moving memorial. I have read both this book and Loung Ung's First They Killed My Father. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cambodia Fan
A fascinating insight into the conditions suffered under the Khmer Rouge.Published 6 months ago by Marilyn Chisholm