First They Killed My Father


I am perhaps a little embarrassed to admit that I never knew much about Cambodia until I read The Rent Collector. Of course Cambodia has always been mentioned in terms of starving children and people living in horrific conditions but the regime of Pol Pot was completely foreign to me. I loved ‘First they Killed My Father’ mostly because it was written from the perspective of a small child, someone who didn’t really understand what was going on or why. Loung Ung was very insightful and had some very profound interpretations of what was going on around her. Whenever I read true stories of pain and suffering I can’t help but wonder if I would be strong enough to withstand such devastating situations.
 
I am very grateful for women like Loung Ung who are willing to write about such personal experiences so that those of us who live lives of ease can learn and grow from their experiences.  Stories of emotional physical strength are so inspiring to me! I will include First They Killed My Father to my list of favorites including: The Long Walk, The Glass Castle, Down River, Man’s Search for Meaning, The Rent Collector, Year of Wonders, Unbroken, The Dove Keepers.
 
Historical Value- 5
Emotional Value- 5
Entertainment Value- 4
Personal Character Value- 4
Age recommendation- 16+
 
First They Killed My Father Quotes
"I think how the world is still somehow beautiful even when I feel no joy at being alive within it."
 
"In my heart I know the truth, but my mind cannot accept the reality of what this all means."
 
“To hope is to let pieces of myself die. To hope is to grieve his absence and acknowledge the emptiness in my soul without him.”
 
“If we stay together, we will die together.”
 
“I don’t care much about politics. All I know is that I am supposed to act dumb and never speak of our lives in the city.”
 
“As I tell people about genocide, I get the opportunity to redeem myself. I’ve had the chance to do something that’s worth me being alive... The more I tell people, the less the nightmares haunt me.”
 
“You are a diamond in the rough and with a little polishing, you will shine.”
"I do not care why or how the Angkor plans to restore Cambodia. All I know is the constant pain of hunger in my stomach."
 
“Nothing should be this beautiful. The gods are playing tricks on us. How could they be so cruel and still make the sky so lovely? I want to destroy all the beautiful things.”
 
“To talk is to bring danger to the family. At five years old, I am beginning to know what loneliness feels like, silent and alone and suspecting that everyone wants to hurt me.”
 
“Sadness makes me want to die, anger makes me fight to live.”
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