Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: Never Fall Down

Never Fall Down by Particia McCormick

Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Publication Date: May 8th 2012
Source: Bookclub
Genre: Nonfiction

When soldiers arrive in his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock ’n’ roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, Arn's life is changed forever. He is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp; working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to become invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.

One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn’s never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to...
This is the very touching story of Arn, a boy from Cambodia during the Vietnam war and his struggles to stay alive when there was political unrest in his native country. This is a story I probably would not think of reading on my own. I am not much of a Nonfiction reader, though after I got half way thought this story I was very intrigued with everything that Arn had to go though and I enjoyed the story very much.

Much of the story is told in a very distinct voice. The story is told in a form of English that I can only describe as... uneducated, though not in a way that should hurt the story. The voice is written to show how Arn would have thought during the process of the story as a young under-educated child in Cambodia. The story was written with a lack of some grammar aspects to make this story stand out. When I first began to read this book it was very hard for me to get into the style of the writing because it is so different than how normal, educated readers would speak and think. Once I got into the story I barely noticed grammatical incorrectness of it all and I really enjoyed how unique it was.

Arn's story is told as if the readers are Arn in a first person perspective. Recalling all major events during the political unrest in Cambodia readers get to experience everything that Arn did as a preteen and young adult. When I fist began this story I knew little to nothing about the background of this story, and I didn't actually realize until the end of the story that this was about a real boy. For someone who didn't know the background of all that was happening in the country before reading this book I think it would have been helpful if there had been a short explanation of what was happening at that time, even after reading I am still somewhat unsure of some of the details.

This is a very powerful, heartbreaking story that gives readers a historical insight on an event that is not often taught in schools, and a very unique writing style.

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