Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: Never Fall Down - Patricia McCormick

Never Fall Down
by Patricia McCormick
Young Adult
Read From: June 25, 2012 - June 25, 2012

Cover Blurb: It does have the effect of, “Hmm, this looks like a true story; I wonder what it’s about,” and therefore you’ll pick it up. I like that it’s a straight-forward cover; nothing terribly fancy. It fits the story.

What I Liked: In all honesty, this is not a book that you neither like nor dislike. It’s a true story, and though it is written in a novel style, I consider this to be a nonfiction book. So in terms of what I liked, I’ll say this: I liked that I found it interesting and informative. I liked that the Author was writing about tremendous horrors, and did not find it necessary to go into gory detail. She communicated the brutality of the Khmer Rouge very effectively. I am not a person who easily gets choked up while reading, but I did end up having to gab some tissues while I was reading this, while other times I was just too horrified and shocked to do much else but continue to read. I already knew about the Khmer Rouge and their wonderful Communist ideals, but reading a true story still has a profound affect on me.

What I Disliked: Again, this isn’t a book where it’s a question of like and dislike. I read these kinds of books to be informed. This book definitely informed me, so I can’t say that I disliked anything about it.

Believability: Well, it’s a true account. The Author interviewed Arn and a bunch of other people in the story, so I’d say that the believability is 100%

Writing Style: The Author writes it in present-tense, but it really didn’t bother me like it usually does. What I did dislike was she gave the narrator, Arn, an accent. She did a very good job with it, definitely; I felt like Arn was sitting right across from me, telling his story. But it also made it a little difficult to become absorbed in the story. After a while, though, I did get used to it.

Content: This is a brutal read. The Author doesn’t go into unnecessary gory detail about the violence, but when writing about a group like the Khmer Rouge, one can only soften it so much. There’s blood and violence, people starving to death, kids forced to kill people, and it’s very hard to read, because none of it is fiction. There’s a Khmer Rouge girl who repeatedly takes advantage of Arn, but the Author handles this with even more delicacy, and even less detail. The biggest thing content-wise is language, and it is because of this that I gave this book only 4 stars. If it wasn‘t for the amount of language, it would have gotten 5. 1 f-word and 27 s-words.

Conclusion: It ends happy; Arn obviously lived, and he was adopted by an American, and he faced his demons as best as anyone who has been through a living Hell like that can. But it still isn’t a feel-good story, and I felt very depressed when I was done reading it. I’m not complaining; a story like this shouldn’t make a person feel all happy and joyful and want to go dance and frolic about. It’s a very sobering read.

Recommended Audience: Obviously, this isn’t a book that can be read by any age group. Older teens and adults could read it, and both girls and guys would find it interesting. People who are interested in real-life stories about people who have escaped totalitarian regimes would find this very interesting.

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