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Never Fall Down (2012)

by Patricia McCormick

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6093231,533 (4.29)51
"Cambodian child soldier Arn Chorn-Pond defied the odds and used all of his courage and wits to survive the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge"--
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» See also 51 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Very powerful and sad especially since it is based on a true story. ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
heart wrenching, powerful, fantastic read
  katielibrarian | Feb 8, 2022 |
McCormick writes a novelized version of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge. Somehow Arn manages to ingratiate himself with others, first through music and then through volleyball. The story is heart-wrenching and very brutal/violent: life was cheap in Southeast Asia in the mid-1970s. I did not really like the pidgin English used either.
( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
For my money, this was leagues better than Goblin Secrets, which beat Never Fall Down for the young adult award. Admittedly, I'm a human rights person (but I'm also totally a magic, automaton, goblin person). This is an extremely difficult story to tell and McCormick (and her real-life source, Arn Chorn-Pond) do a spectacular job. At first, I found Arn-Chorn's voice, a kind of pigden English, difficult, but it grew on me and becomes quite effective about a third of the way through. Then I noticed that the effect was often abrupt and powerful:

In this passage, Chorn-Pond is a refugee under Khmer Rouge control. We know that he used to sell ice cream to make a little money:

The rainy season is here now, and the path is like river of mud; and the nighttime is very cold with no blanket, only thin pajama, so we sleep with all of us very close to stay warm. Also it's the season when malaria can come, and all the time we get bit by bug. At night I think maybe to cry a little bit for my family, but I do like my aunt says, cry only in my mind. In the daytime very hot, like steam almost; and when we walk, I think maybe I go crazy. Because all I can think of only one thing: Ice cream cone.

What he went through is unimaginable, in the literal sense of the word. We cannot, alone, even imagine what a person, let alone a child, experienced under Khmer Rouge rule. So we desperately need books like this to evoke some even tangential sense of what humans are in fact capable of doing to other humans. An important, searing, beautifully written book.

( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
I must like stories of genocide because I read so many of them. The Khmer Rouge seemed to be ruthless just for the sake of being ruthless. I don't really understand their political objective except to over turn the status quo.
This account, retold by Patricia Mccormick, is about one amazing survivor, a young boy named Arn, who has spent his life after leaving Cambodia in 1979, speaking about the Khmer Rouge and promoting traditional Cambodia music, which nearly died out as the educated were exterminate.
Our sophomores research genocide and man's inhumanity to man each year, and this would be a great book to include in the study. ( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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At night in our town, it's music everywhere.
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And I know then I have power. Power from playing the khim and leading the other singer. Power from also being a dancer. Power from being a little bit a star in the show. I feel big with this power--tall, not like little kid--like right now I just stop Siv from probably dying. No one here talks back to the Khmer Rouge, no one challenge them. But maybe I can now. (end of chapter 5)
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"Cambodian child soldier Arn Chorn-Pond defied the odds and used all of his courage and wits to survive the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge"--

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Book description
EIN JUGENDROMAN ÜBER DIE SCHRECKENSHERRSCHAFT DER ROTEN KHMER IN KAMBODSCHA
Als Arn Chorn Pond noch ein Junge ist, übernimmt das radikale kommunistische Regime der Roten Khmer die Macht in Kambodscha. Es folgt ein schrecklicher Völkermord, dem zwei Millionen Menschen zum Opfer fallen – ein Viertel der gesamten Bevölkerung.
Arn hat überlebt. Doch der Preis dafür war hoch. Denn er ist selbst zum Täter geworden. Und es ist ihm schwer gefallen, den Tiger in seinem Herzen zu bändigen.
Schonungslos und brutal erzählt Patricia McCormick von den Killing Fields. Es braucht nachhaltig beeindruckende Bücher wie dieses, um aufzuzeigen, zu welchen Grausamkeiten Menschen fähig sind und welche Fehler sich niemals wiederholen dürfen.
VERÄNDERE DIE WELT, INDEM DU DIE WAHRHEIT SAGST!
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