Saturday, March 6, 2010

When Broken Glass Floats - Book Review

When Broken Glass Floats is an auto-biography and eye-witness account of the Cambodian revolution of Pol Pot in 1976. Author Chanrithy Him's sister told her that good times will come "when broken glass floats," and the story is about how they would have to endure for good times to return.

Pol Pot's Khmar Rouge government was idealist and Luddite. They depopulated the cities, killed educated people, and drove the country into panic. 21% of the population were killed or died of famine or disease.

Chanrithy Him's story tells of her evacuation from Phnem Penh, her relocation to a farm, death of her parents and some siblings, a series of child labor camps, and eventual escape.  I wanted to see what happened to her since she got to the US, and she did finish college. She is active in the local Cambodian community.

I read a lot of books that I don't recommend, but I really liked this one. I read it instead of my escapist novels.

The story is gripping and written with a mixture of detail and generality that I liked.


The Cambodian genocide is terrible episode. This site has pictures. 

I picked this book at Amazon, but looking for books with five star recommendations from the largest number of readers. This strategy worked great here.