Never Fall Down By Patricia McCormick

Never Fall Down Book Cover Never Fall Down
Patricia McCormick
Historical Fiction
Balzer + Bray
May 8, 2012
Hardcover
216
Library

When soldiers arrive at 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, his life is changed forever. Arn 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 be 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 be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.

Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick is a powerful and moving work that tells the story of Arn Chorn-Pond as he changes from a normal kid in Cambodia to one who gets caught up in the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rougue. The choice that Patricia McCormick made to use Arn’s voice is an excellent. It really allows you to feel that you know Arn because you can hear his story in his own words. 

The books is not dramatized and can be shocking at how matter of fact murder, torture, and starvation can become. We are on the journey with Arn as he is forced to change to survive. The pace of the book, pulls you along as Arn is forced to make decisions that are frightening and heartbreaking. As he tries to save those around him and keep moving forward. The emotion and despair he feels having to do terrible things to survive, is just unimaginable.

Never Fall Down is the story of the human spirit. How it can persevere and survive the most horrific circumstances. That there can be hope for all of us to make changes. If Arn is able to survive and see the humanity around him, there is truly hope for all of us.

Summary and cover image from goodreads. 

join the conversation

*

CommentLuv badge