This is the 2nd book that I’ve read in a series of memoires by Loung Ung. She survived the Genocide in Camodia in the first book, and she has gone on to share the story of her integration into America at 9 years of age in the 80’s. As I’ve traveled around Asia I’ve always been intrigued with the thought of what the locals in these small towns and unique cultural background would think of America. This book gave me some insight into this. Ung traveled to America with her oldest brother and his wife after escaping Cambodia and leaving the rest of her siblings behind. When they left, they promised to come back and get the rest of the family in 5 years…but that never happened. Instead Ung grew up in Vermont and her other siblings grew up in a war-torn Cambodia…barely surviving in their village lifestyle.
This was a story of sisters…a touching story that was cleverly written. One chapter would be about Ung acclimating to America and her continued struggle with her memories of the war and losing her parents; and the next chapter would be about her sister, Chou, growing up during that same time in a poor Cambodian village. It was a wonderful way to really explore the contrasts of the lifestyle and the family bond that still existed.
If you’ve read “First They Killed My Father”, then this is a great follow up! It also gives you insight into how Cambodia rose from the war-torn state they were in and eventually opened itself up to the West. A wonderful read about family!