Based on Arn Chorn Pond’s life in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.
First, I would like to take an opportunity to brag about the fact that I have met both Arn and Patty McCormick on multiple occasions. Both of them are lovely and amazing people, and I would be lucky if I could write as well as Ms. McCormick or be as courageous as Arn.
Secondly, this is a truly fantastic novel. The starkness of McCormick’s prose, aided by her choice to write the story in Arn’s broken English, gives the book a poetic, almost lyrical quality that really adds emotion to the heartbreaking story. I really respect her choice to write the book this way, because it keeps the story authentic, as it really is the way Arn speaks.
McCormick captures perfectly Arn’s struggle to retain his humanity in an inhumane world. She makes us question traditional ideas of right and wrong and what one must do to survive. Through Arn’s story, she also explores what survival means and how one copes with it when they feel they were wrongly chosen.
Arn’s story is a powerful one that will resonate with you long after you close the book.