Never Fall Down

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
785   0
Write Review
Never Fall Down
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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (1)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

An Outstanding True Story

Arn Chorn-Pond had the typical life of a Cambodian child, until a Communist group called the Khmer Rouge took control of the government and forced all the citizens into work camps. In NEVER FALL DOWN, Patricia McCormick takes Arn's account of his life in "the Killing Fields" and writes it as a gripping and unforgettable novel.

Following novels about a soldier in Iraq, a child sold into sexual slavery in India, and an American girl who can't stop cutting herself, McCormick proves that she can write in any voice and about any subject. NEVER FALL DOWN is an unflinching record of how Arn managed to survive when one quarter of the Cambodian population perished. As a bedtime reader, I found myself haunted by Arn's recollections and trying to read it earlier in the day. The descriptions of violence are too graphic for my middle school students, but this should be required reading for high school students.

There are so many discussion points in this book. Apart from the violence, the brutality of starvation, disease, and the grueling work conditions are detailed. Arn says, "New schedule announced at meeting tonight. Work from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Now, day and night, the same thing. Also the word sleep, it's not allowed anymore. Okay to say rest, but not sleep. Forget this word." My heart hurts to think that this was Arn and many others' reality for years; I want to talk with other readers about the gratitude they felt, I was humbled by his story.

Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Dear Martin
ustyce McAllister is top of his class and set for...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Come Home, Angus
Angus woke up mad and knew today was not his...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rulers of the Playground
A stunning picture book about sharing, friendship, and kindness in...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny
June Sparrow and her best friend—a miniature pig named Indigo...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Story Sparks:  Finding Your Best Story Ideas & Turning Them into Compelling Fiction
Find rock-solid story ideas before you start writing ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Girl in the Tower
A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Coming Up For Air
Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework....
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Landscape with Invisible Hand
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
26091228.jpg
Follow-up to the New York Times bestselling novel, Forget Tomorrow!...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Follow Me (Amateurs #2)
It was the perfect night for a party. That is,...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fireblood
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Nothing
From Annie Barrows, the acclaimed #1 New York Times–bestselling...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome Home
Welcome Home collects a number of adoption-themed fictional short...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Even the Darkest Stars
The first in a sweeping and action-packed debut fantasy...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Come Home, Angus
 
5.0
"Most of us have days when we just get mad. We don’t know why. We don’t know who is to..."
Rulers of the Playground
 
4.5
"Jonah wants to rule the playground. And he’s a good ruler. Except when he’s not. The problem is that Lennox..."
Plant the Tiny Seed
 
4.5
" This book relies on the interactive nature of read-alouds for young children. Beginning with a single zinnia seed, the..."
June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny
 
3.5
"In JUNE SPARROW AND THE MILLION DOLLAR PENNY, June Sparrow is a very rich pre-teen living in New York City..."
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright
 
4.0
"Albie Bright’s mom has died after a long illness, and he’s heartbroken. While trying to sort out his feelings..."
Big and Little Are Best Friends
 
4.5
"Big and Little, an elephant and a mouse, are best friends. But their friendship isn't based on common interests. Big..."
How Oscar Indigo Broke the Universe (and Put It Back Together Again)
 
3.0
"Oscar Indigo is a bad baseball player, but he’s a very good teammate. And he’s committed to his role of..."
Laugh-Out-Loud Ultimate Jokes for Kids: 2-in-1 Collection of Awesome Jokes and Road Trip Jokes
 
4.5
"This durable hardback presents a sizable collection of perfectly clean kid’s jokes. There are anywhere from 3-6 jokes per page..."
Laugh-Out-Loud Road Trip Jokes for Kids
 
4.0
"A well-arranged, highly portable collection of kid-friendly jokes. This little paperback book of road trip ready humor is 128..."
Beyond the Doors
 
4.0
"When their dad falls into a coma and their mom is nowhere to be found, the Rothbaum siblings are forced..."
The Great Treehouse War
 
4.5
"THE GREAT TREEHOUSE WAR by Lisa Graff is the story of Winnie Malladi-Maraj and her nine friends. It’s told in..."
Felix Yz
 
5.0
"FELIX YZ by Lisa Bunker is a creative look at the difficulties of being in middle school, although the..."
Olive and the Backstage Ghost
 
5.0
"OLIVE AND THE BACKSTAGE GHOST is a middle grade horror/ghost story that is full of suspense. Olive loves to sing,..."
Not on Fifth Street
 
5.0
"Brothers Pete and Gus live with their family in Ironton, Ohio in 1937. Practical Pete, the younger brother, is the..."
Serafina and the Black Cloak
 
5.0
"Creak. Creak. Creak. The floor in the basement of the 1899 Biltmore Estate groaned as a golden-haired girl tiptoed towards..."
The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid
 
4.0
"In 1961, Charlie Fisher is a poor little rich kid whose mother has decided that she's tired of caring for..."
Going Wild #2: Predator vs. Prey
 
4.0
"After getting involved with Project Chimera in Going Wild, Charlie and her mother and brother Andy are struggling with the..."
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
 
4.0
"The Vanderbeekers family of five children, parents, dog and rabbit have lived on two floors in a brownstone in Harlem...."
 
5.0
"Richard and his family live near Washington, D.C., where his father does something secretive for the government. They live in..."
The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade
 
5.0
"Maverick's mother has trouble keeping a job due to her alcohol consumption, which probably also influences her bad taste in..."