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Written in the present tense, First They Killed My Father will put you right in the midst of the action--action you'll
wish had never happened. It's a tough read, but definitely a worthwhile one, and the author's personality and strength
shine through on every page. Covering the years from 1975 to 1979, the story moves from the deaths of multiple family
members to the forced separation of the survivors, leading ultimately to the reuniting of much of the family, followed
by marriages and immigrations. The brutality seems unending--beatings, starvation, attempted rape, mental cruelty--and
yet the narrator (a young girl) never stops fighting for escape and survival. Sad and courageous, her life and the lives
of her young siblings provide quite a powerful example of how war can so deeply affect children--especially a war in
which they are trained to be an integral part of the armed forces. For anyone interested in Cambodia's recent history,
this book shares a valuable personal view of events. --Jill Lightner