BOOK REVIEWS

REVIEWS FOR FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER

“Loung has written an eloquent and powerful narrative as a young witness to the Khmer Rouge atrocities. This is an important story that will have a dramatic impact on today’s readers and inform generations to come.” ~ DITH PRAN, whose wartime life was portrayed in the award-winning film The Killing Fields

“This book left me gasping for air. Loung Ung plunges her readers into a Kafkaesque world—her childhood robbed by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge—and forces them to experience the mass murder, starvation, and disease that claimed half her beloved family. In the end, the horror of the Cambodian genocide is matched only by the author’s indomitable spirit.” ~ IRIS CHANG, author of The Rape of Nanking

“This is a story of the triumph of a child’s indomitable spirit over the tyranny of the Khmer Rouge; over a culture where children are trained to become killing machines. Despite the heartache, I could not put the book down until I reached the end.” ~ QUEEN NOOR of Jordan, founder, Women and Development Project

“[Ung] tells her stories straightforwardly, vividly, and without any strenuous effort to explicate their importance, allowing the stories themselves to create their own impact.” ~ New York Times

“Ung’s memoir should serve as a reminder that some history is best not left just to historians, but to those left standing when the terror ends.” ~ Booklist

“Skillfully constructed, this account also stands as an eyewitness history of the period, because as a child Ung was so aware of her surrounding, and because as an adult writer she adds details to clarify the family’s moves and separations…. This powerful account is a triumph.” ~ Publishers Weekly

REVIEWS FOR LUCKY CHILD

“Ung is a masterful storyteller whose fresh clear prose shimmers with light and sorrow. Her stories are of the heroism and resilience of ordinary people beset by extraordinary tragedies.” ~ MARY PHIPER, author of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

“As piercing and poignant as its title, Lucky Child is the remarkable account of two sisters divided by history and driven by tragedy. It is we who are lucky that Loung Ung is such a gifted writer, and that she has chosen to share her story.” ~ RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON, author of No Safe Place

Lucky Child is a tender, searing journey of two sisters, two worlds, two destinies.  It is about the long-term consequences of war—how it changes everything, annihilates, uproots, and separate families.  And it is about how human triumph—building live wherever they land and finding their way back to each other.” ~ EVE ENSLER, author of The Vagina Monologues

“This is a strong story, simply told. Ung helps us understand what happens when a family is torn apart by politics, adversity, and war.  Change the names of the characters, give them another country of origin, and this story of dislocation becomes a tragedy millions of immigrants have lived through but seldom talk about…. Ung’s story is a compelling and inspirational one that touches universal chords. Americans would do well to read it, no matter where they were born.” ~ Washington Post Book World

“Ung brings third and first world disparities into discomforting focus and gracefully dramatizes the metaphorical joining together of her haunted past and her current identity as a privileged Cambodian American. When the narrative fuse at the sisters’ long-awaited reunion, their clasping of hands throws wide the floodgates of tamped-down memories – a cathartic release that readers will tearfully, gratefully share. ~ Booklist (starred review)

“Vivid prose…. Ung imparts freshness to a fairly familiar immigrant’s tale…. A moving story of transition, transformation, and reunion.” ~ Kirkus Review