A Child's Memories of Horror,
This review is from: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.) (Paperback)
I knew when I agreed to review this book that it would not be an easy read. I have to admit to an appalling ignorance of the events in and around the events in the book. Hell, I have to admit to an appalling ignorance to the events surrounding the Viet Nam war and I grew up during it and lost an uncle to it.
That being said I went into this book very blind and came out with some knowledge. Knowledge I'm not sure I want or need. I am forever amazed at the capacity of man to kill, maim and destroy for what are proclaimed to be the loftiest of reasons but boil down to power and greed. But back to First They Killed My Father....
This is the first book of a trilogy of memoirs written by Loung Ung about her experiences. This book details her youth in Cambodia first as a child of privilege, then as a slave soldier to the Khmer regime. It's not a happy tale and Ms. Ung does not make herself out to be a pleasant child. In fact she is nothing short of a brat. She writes through the eyes of the child she was and this can be trying at times - she is five when the troubles begin and constantly asking for explanations but do five year old children truly understand political situations to this degree? I don't know. I fortunately have never been a child of this level of horror.
The book details her families travels from village to village trying to avoid discovery as her father was a government official in the former regime. They are forced to work in ways they never had and to endure starvation and beatings as well. Fear was constant and one day they come for her father. Ms. Ung uses imagination at times to fill in what she does not know for sure but so much is not known of the evils of Pol Pot's reign.
The book is well written and quite compelling. This was my first time reading a book of this topic and it has me interested in learning more but also fearful of what I might learn. Dictators do not leave kind legacies and Pol Pot was one of the nastier ones. The book has stayed with me and has made me want to pick up the other two volumes to continue on with Loung Ung's story.