Memoir of a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl

Surviving the Cambodian Genocide

Channy Laux’s memoir of her life as a teenager under the Khmer Rouge gives the reader an intimate, heart-rending insight into the killing fields of the Cambodian Genocide, one of the great atrocities of the twentieth century. It also brings home what it means to be a refugee, someone forced to flee in order to survive. Even as a slave laborer, who has to catch reptiles and steal fruit to stay alive, Channy retains hope, resilience, her youthful curiosity, and even an irresistible joie de vivre. Her steady devotion to her mother, Em, and the rest of her extended family is both touching and heroic.

This story of one family’s struggle for survival brings home the important difference between economic immigrants and refugees, who are fleeing for their lives and have a human right to asylum. Channy Laux is one of the lucky ones as she was allowed to build a new life in a new country. Her book reminds us of the many today who are turned away from all hope of a safe haven.

- Nancy Flowers, Human Rights Consultant Co-Founder, Human Rights Educators USA

Review by Nancy Flowers