Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
This should be compulsory reading for all those decision makers who have a political or economic effect on peoples lives. If you don’t know this story then you shouldn’t be in power.
It is the story of Arn Chorn-Pond who was 11 years old when the Khmer Rouge with their black pyjamas took over Cambodia and gave the World a new term, The Killing Fields.
He was separated from his family and told to march into the country for 3 days. The journey took 3 years and 20 days, each day was a horrifying experience. The hunger, the brutality, the sound of skulls cracked open by an axe and the total madness that was Pol Pot’s regime.
Arn Chorn survived this because he wasn’t educated, he learned to hide all emotion and he learned to work with the Khmer Rouge. He was forced to learn the stringed instrument the Khim from a learned man. After he learnt it, his teacher was killed.
He became a star in his country as the bodies piled higher and lived to tell his story and work for the United Nations and free others. To tell this story must have drained him emotionally. Patricia McCormick gets it right.
An inspiring story and a portrait of the Khmer Rouge whose lower ranked members were treated with the same suspicion as the ordinary citizens. Those who didn’t worship Angka enough or showed “bad Character” were slaughtered with the rest.
Patricia McCormick tells it well and in the voice of Arn who has English as a second language. The power of this style is impressive.
Mainly for High school students and young adults. Not for the faint hearted.