Deeply unsettling book that burst my heart. A child’s memoir of the Khmer Rouge camps. I am reluctant to see the film due to all the controversy about casting that’s been going on in the media, but reading the book was incredibly important. It was perhaps one of the first narratives about the Cambodian genocide which I had properly taken in. I definitely need to watch all the important documentaries about the killing fields and to remember the name of the absolutely brilliant casual video game I played on the subject. But back to Loung Ung’s memoir: the child’s perspective gives it a slightly monotonous, pedestrian quality that’s all the more staggering in showing the reader the impact of horrors. And there is definitely a naive quality in the protagonist’s perspective in taking in the world, which sometimes leads from a political assessment of the genocide to a purely sentimental one. But it’s important to have both points of view, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity.
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung
Published by Harper Collins Publishers in 2006