I’m currently on my annual trip to Cambodia with my daughters. Every visit I buy a handful of books about the country, most of which cover the same topic – the Khmer Rouge regime – but I never tire of reading them. Each account gives a different insight into the brutal civil war that pummelled the country and killed one quarter of its population. Each personal story of survival is unique. Each tale is a lesson in humanity. It is a lesson the world should never forget.
Here is my latest book recommendation:
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Many children lost their childhoods during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. This is the raw account of one boy’s horrific suffering during those years. The crisp prose of the author packs a lot of punch; it puts the reader in the mind of the young boy, as though you are reliving his past with him. I felt as though I was starving, stealing, and struggling to survive alongside him. I was in his head, drawing on his strength to overcome sickness and injury, fearing for his life at the cruel hands of the Khmer Rouge, and being pulled down by the weight of his decision to join them as a child soldier (a necessary evil to survive). I empathised with his losses, his anger, and his regrets. This is a no-frills, confronting story, which made me question humanity. In the end it is humanity that wins. The story finishes with an uplifting message of hope.