After enduring years of hunger, deprivation, and devastating loss at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, ten-year-old Loung Ung became the "lucky child," the sibling chosen to accompany her eldest brother to America while her one surviving sister and two brothers remained behind. In this poignant and elegiac memoir, Loung recalls her assimilation into an unfamiliar new culture while struggling to overcome dogged memories of violence and the deep scars of war. In alternating chapters, she gives voice to Chou, the beloved older sister whose life in war-torn Cambodia so easily could have been hers. Highlighting the harsh realities of chance and circumstance in times of war as well as in times of peace, Lucky Child is ultimately a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and to the salvaging strength of family bonds.
With all the innocence of a child, Ung speaks about the complexities of trying to understand American culture. She describes trying to be a kid in a place where she never quite felt she belonged. Ung reveals what it's like to go to school and have no friends, to be ridiculed for not understanding or speaking English and to live through it all while haunted by nightmares in which she relived the horrors of war … Ung's story is a compelling and inspirational one that touches universal chords. Americans would do well to read it, no matter where they were born.