It is the 1970’s and Arn lives in Cambodia with his aunt, sisters and brothers. They are poor but happy. Then the Khmer Rouge take power and move all the people in his town, and from elsewhere in Cambodia, to what is now known as the Killing Fields. Many die and brutality becomes a way of life. Eventually Arn makes it through the horrors but the four years he has spent struggling to survive, and then living as a child soldier, leave him deeply scarred. This is a true story.
This is a harrowing story but it needs to be heard. It is written in Arn’s slightly halting and broken English which makes it hard to get into but readers should persevere. For those of us living our comfortable lives, the story is almost too much to take in and at times you need to remind yourself that it true. With the beauty and ancient history of Cambodia attracting visitors these days, people should be aware of the tragedy that unfolded here and the destruction that many families endured.
Whilst the events in Cambodia may seem many years ago, this book is still relevant today as atrocities continue to occur in other countries around the world.