In a few of the books that I have read on this journey, I have found that some of the authors are writing about a time that I have lived in. One book was in the 1980’s, and much of what was written had a similar feel to it as my childhood. Not so this book, First They Killed My Father was written by Loung Ung.
As I read this book I realized that the author and I are the same age, she is just 2 months older then I am , the vast difference in our childhood shook me. I am not naïve enough to think that war does not effect children. I have just read something that for a twist of fate could have been the life of my family. When she was nine she was fighting for survival, I was watching cartoons. She was trying to keep her family alive, I was trying to learn multiplication. As I read this book I could not make up my mind if I would have survived the Khmer Rouge like she did, or if I would have been one who would have been lost in the forests.
Loung Ung was 5 years old when she had to leave her home and fight to survive in the villages, and work camps. She was trained to be a child soldier in a work camp for orphans, her siblings went to labor camps, and it was not until the regime fell that she was reunited with what remained of her family.
After I read this book I looked up Loung Ung to see what had happened to her. This is the first book about her life, and I did find out that she went on to become a spokesperson for Campaign for a Landmine Free World. This book is being adapted into a Netflix movie coming in 2017. I for one will try to watch the movie, but I do not know if I will be able to. For some reason I really related to her story, even though it was not my life, it was not something that I had to live through.
QUOTES (because of the way this book affected me and how close we are in age, I am putting they year that she had written theses quotes under.)
“Still, it is hard to think of anything else. Hunger eats at my sanity.” (1975)
“To hope is to let pieces of myself die.” (1976)
“I live with forty others, but I am so alone in this world.” (1977)