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First They Killed My Father - Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal
October 30th, 2017
10:46 pm


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First They Killed My Father
Read the book First They Killed My Father, a touching memoir by Loung Ung, who had spent her childhood at Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime. Loung was a girl of five, living a comfortable life with her parents and six siblings at Phnom Penh in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge took over control of the country. The book is written mostly from the perspective of the child, and shows how the family members supported each other in their struggle during the next five years (apparently, we don't see many references of helping hands from non-family members - probably it is an indication of how the grim times in the country had disintegrated the entire social system and people were mostly on their own in their struggle for survival). Not all of Loung's family managed to make it; but Loung and her eldest brother finally get to reach a refugee camp in Thailand in 1980, and from there immigrate to the USA.

In many ways, the book reminded me of the graphic novel The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (written more recently), which narrates the struggles of a Vietnamese family during the 1960s and 70s. However, Loung Ung's book has a very straight-forward narrative, unlike the graphic novel which uses a bit of dramatization and gives a lot of focus on the character study of the key people noted in the memoir.

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