Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind

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9780060733940: Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind

When Loung Ung came to America in 1980 as a ten-year-old Cambodian refugee, she had already survived years of hunger, violence, and loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, a story she told in her critically acclaimed bestseller, First They Killed My Father. Now, in Lucky Child, Ung writes of assimilation and, in alternating chapters, gives voice to a genocide survivor she left behind in rural Cambodia, her older sister Chou.

Loung was the lucky child, the sibling Eldest Brother chose to take with him to America. The youngest and the scrappiest, she was the one he believed had the best chance of making it. Just two years apart, Chou and Loung had bonded deeply over the deaths of their parents and sisters. As they stood holding hands in their dusty village while the extended family gathered to say good-bye, they never imagined that fifteen years would pass before they would be reunited again.

With candor and enormous flair, Ung describes what it is like to survive in a new culture while surmounting dogged memories of genocide and the deep scars of war. Not only must she learn about Disney characters and Christmas trees to fit in with her classmates, she must also come to understand life in a nation of peace: that the Fourth of July fireworks are not bombs and that she doesn't have to hide food in her bed every night to make sure she has enough to eat. Her spunk, intelligence, and charisma win out, but Cambodia and Chou are always in her thoughts.

An accomplished activist and writer, Ung has now returned to Cambodia many times, and in this re-creation of Chou's life, she writes the story that so easily could have been hers. Both redemptive and searing, Lucky Child highlights the harsh realities of chance and circumstance and celebrates the indomitability of the human spirit.

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About the Author:

An author, lecturer, and activist, Loung Ung has advocated for equality, human rights, and justice in her native land and worldwide for more than fifteen years. Ung lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband.

Review:

“Ung’s story is a compelling and inspirational one that touches universal chords. Americans would do well to read it.” (Washington Post Book World)

“Written with an engaging vigor and directness, Lucky Child is an unforgettable portrait of resilience and largeness of spirit.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Deeply stirring...heart-breaking and not less than brilliant.” (Miami Herald)

“[Ung] captured my heart...Lucky Child is captivating, deep and delightful.” (Chicago Tribune)

“At once elegiac and clear-eyed, this moving volume is a tribute to the path not taken.” (Vogue)

“Heart-rending and eloquent . . . a moving reminder of human resiliency and the power of family bonds.” (Newsweek)

“[A] fiercely honest and affecting memoir.” (Seattle Times)

“Remarkable...Lucky Child is part adventure, part history and, in large part, a love story about family.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Vivid prose...Ung imparts freshness to a fairly familiar immigrant’s tale...a moving story of transition, transformation, and reunion.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Highly readable.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“A rich narrative that explores the ravages of war and the strength of family bonds...powerful and moving.” (Amnesty International)

“Ung is a masterful storyteller whose fresh clear prose shimmers with light and sorrow.” (Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia)

“A unique glimpse into America’s “melting pot”--a melting pot born of indescribable suffering but brimming with irrepressible life.” (Samantha Power, author of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide)

“As piercing and poignant as its title.” (Richard North Patterson)

“I encourage everyone to read this deeply moving and very important book.” (Angelina Jolie, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees)

“A tender, searing journey of two sisters, two worlds, two destinies.” (Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues)

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