Loung Ung was the National Spokesperson for the "Campaign for a Landmine Free World," a program of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Ung lectures extensively, appears regularly in the media, and has made more than thirty trips back to Cambodia. She is also the author of Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind and LuLu in the Sky.
In her second memoir, Ung picks up where her first, the National Book Award-winning First They Killed My Father, left off, with the author escaping a devastated Cambodia in 1980 at age 10 and flying to her new home in Vermont. Though she embraces her American life-which carries advantages ranging from having a closet of her own to getting a formal education and enjoying The Brady Bunch-she can never truly leave her Cambodian life behind. She and her eldest brother, with whom she escaped, left behind their three other siblings. This book is alternately heart-wrenching and heartwarming, as it follows the parallel lives of Loung Ung and her closest sister, Chou, during the 15 years it took for them to reunite. Loung effectively juxtaposes chapters about herself and her sister to show their different worlds: while the author's meals in America are initially paid for with food stamps, Chou worries about whether she'll be able to scrounge enough rice; Loung is haunted by flashbacks, but Chou is still dodging the Khmer Rouge; and while Loung's biggest concern is fitting in at school, Chou struggles daily to stay alive. Loung's first-person chapters are the strongest, replete with detailed memories as a child who knows she is the lucky one and can't shake the guilt or horror. "For no matter how seemingly great my life is in America... it will not be fulfilling if I live it alone.... [L]iving life to the fullest involves living it with your family." Agent, Gail Ross. (On sale Apr. 12) FYI: Publication coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge takeover. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"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 rich narrative that explores the ravages of war and the strength of family bonds...powerful and moving."--Amnesty International "As piercing and poignant as its title."--Richard North Patterson "Vivid prose...Ung imparts freshness to a fairly familiar immigrant's tale...a moving story of transition, transformation, and reunion."--Kirkus Reviews "[Ung] captured my heart...Lucky Child is captivating, deep and delightful."--Chicago Tribune "Ung is a masterful storyteller whose fresh clear prose shimmers with light and sorrow."--Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia "Written with an engaging vigor and directness, Lucky Child is an unforgettable portrait of resilience and largeness of spirit."--Los Angeles Times "Ung's story is a compelling and inspirational one that touches universal chords. Americans would do well to read it."--Washington Post Book World "Deeply stirring...heart-breaking and not less than brilliant."--Miami Herald "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 "Highly readable."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "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 "Remarkable...Lucky Child is part adventure, part history and, in large part, a love story about family."--Cleveland Plain Dealer "[A] fiercely honest and affecting memoir."--Seattle Times