The bestial Khmer Rouge regime ended in 1979, but the West remains strangely ignorant of the horrors the Cambodians suffered under their Communist overlords. Stories like To Destroy You Is No Loss: The Odyssey of a Cambodian Family are intended to remove that ignorance and reveal the brutality of the Cambodian genocide.
JoAn Criddle writes as Teeda Butt Mam, a schoolgirl whose father was among the intellectuals perceived as threats to the stability of the Khmer Rouge government. "To keep you is no benefit: To destroy you is no loss," was a regime slogan to which they were assiduously committed. Khmer Rouge "purges" resulted in the elimination of over 20% of the Cambodian population.
This book is the true story of Teeda's family and their unimaginable suffering and loss. It reads like a harrowing novel. Criddle writes from Teeda's eyewitness accounts with true empathy, and with a power of language that makes each line more convincing and more tragic. Unlike many similar stories, this one ends in hopefulness, but hopefulness bought dearly in the face of fear and death.
Excellent books about the Khmer Rouge genocide abound; none are as appropriate for non-adult audiences as this one. While To Destroy You Is No Loss isn't for preteens, high school students will benefit greatly from its harrowing realism, as will anyone whose sense of empathy has been numbed by the inconvenience Westerners often equate with real suffering.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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