Never Fall Down: A Novel by Patricia McCormickNever Fall Down: A Novel by Patricia McCormick

Never Fall Down: A Novel

byPatricia McCormick

Paperback | December 23, 2013

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This National Book Award nominee from two-time finalist Patricia McCormick is the unforgettable story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge.

Based on the true story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, and authentically told from his point of view as a young boy, this is an achingly raw and powerful historical novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace. It includes an author's note and acknowledgments from Arn Chorn-Pond himself.

When soldiers arrive in his hometown, Arn is just a normal little boy. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.

Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children dying before his eyes. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers.

This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Patricia McCormick is a two-time National Book Award finalist and former journalist who has won much acclaim for her compassionate approach to hard-hitting subjects. Her bookPurple Heartwas aPublishers WeeklyBest Book, and her bookSold, also a National Book Award Finalist, is soon to be a feature film. Other seminal books she has writt...
Title:Never Fall Down: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.5 inPublished:December 23, 2013Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0061730955

ISBN - 13:9780061730955


Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh THis book was so sad and the fact that is was a true story made it even worse. The poor child I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like have to live through everything that he did. This was all about a child soldier and the things that he witnessed as well as everything that he was forced to do. Quick read but very moving. Not as good as her other novel sold but I did enjoy this one none the less. I think this book was just a bit over hyped for what it actually presented to the reader.
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! In the book “Never Fall Down,” the main character Arn is an eleven year old boy living in Cambodia, with his four sisters, brother and aunt. There is a war going on far from the town but keeps getting closer and closer. Soon trucks of people in black pajamas come to say the war is over, everyone cheers and is happy. Soon the black pajamas tell them they have to walk twelve miles to safety and that they can all return in three days. But soon Arn realizes the people in the black pajamas are not really who they said they were. The author Patricia McCormick writes in an interesting way, making it sound like someone who is just learning English. The author captures how happy and emotional Arn is in the beginning yet loses all emotion in the end. It is a great book and completely kept me hooked making me never want to put the book down. There was never any repeats of events and there was always something new in every chapter.
Date published: 2016-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable True Story!! My Review: Arn Chorn-Pond is only 11 years old. In his town of Battambang, Cambodia the people come out at night and make music. Music is everywhere. Rich people and poor people alike congregate together and play radios, record players and eight-track cassettes. In Arn’s town, “music is like air, always there.” The men and ladies stroll through the park to catch the newest songs. Men play cards while ladies sell mangoes, noodles, wristwatches and other wares. Kids fly kites and eat ice cream, it’s a happy place. After the show which had lots of shooting, they played outside mimicking what they saw on the big screen. Suddenly they hear a whistle and the sky far away flashes white. The palm trees shiver, the ground shakes and they suddenly realize the war is “real.” They run to the pond near their home, jump in, water up to their noses and hide there. The following day the music is back and the war is gone, it had come close but not into their town. Arn’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident and his mother was forced to go to Phnom Penh for work so the children lived with their aunt – Arn, his brother, Munny and four sisters; Sophea, Chantou, Maly, and Jorami. Their aunt had no children so she loved them as if they were her own. One morning the Khmer Rouge arrive in Cambodia with bullhorns riding in trucks telling people that the Americans are coming to bomb the city and everyone, the entire country must leave, evacuate immediately but will be allowed to return home in 3 days. They are told to walk 12 miles into the countryside. The entire population of Cambodia is leaving in droves, each carrying something – bags of rice, blankets, food, dried fish and other items. All of Cambodia is now on the road walking into the countryside. A hundred thousand people. While walking, a kid who knows Arn yells from behind for him to wait up. He tells Arn that his father is a high ranking official and had gone to the airport with the Khmer Rouge. He said his big brother was hiding in the bush and watched the Khmer Rouge shoot his father to death. He says the Khmer Rouge is going to kill them all. Arn witnesses a man asking the Khmer Rouge for a drink of water for his pregnant wife, but he only grunts and points his gun for the man to keep moving forward. The man opened his mouth to say something else but the Khmer Rouge hit the man in the cheek with his gun. Arn learned right then to “be invisible around these Khmer Rouge guys.” As Arn continues to walk he sees various people along the road with bullet holes and others with blood coming out of their mouths and others with shirts full of blood. Arn thought: “in one day a person can get used to seeing a dead body.” Finally, many miles into the countryside, the Khmer Rouge tell 1,000 people to stop and make camp. The rest keep walking until they reach another field where another 1,000 people are told to make camp. The Khmer Rouge had promised they could return to their homes in 3 days but it’s now already been one week. The Khmer Rouge forced everyone to dig ditches in the hot blazing sun all day and the only break they get is when they use the latrine. Arn discovers a huge hole in the ground while taking his little brother to the latrine. The smell emanating from the hole is horrendous and unlike anything he has ever smelled before. Arn soon figures out that the Khmer Rouge are killing all the rich people, those who are well-educated with good jobs, soldiers, doctors, and musicians. It appears if you’re poor, they leave you alone. Arn discovers the list in a black book, that’s how they decide who lives and who dies. One day the Khmer Rouge forced everyone to strip naked and then gave them a pair of black pajamas to wear. Now all women, men, and children are dressed the same. They burned all their other clothing. The Khmer Rouge tell the people: “now all of us live as equals, no rich, no poor.” They are told that now everything belongs to “Angka”. Each day they are woken at 4:00AM and forced to work in the rice paddies under the blazing hot sun until dark then given a dinner of rice soup and salt. The atrocities that these people faced was horrible and hard to believe that people, human beings, could be so very cruel. Never Fall Down is a difficult book to read but a necessary book to read. I think everyone needs to read this true story to understand the magnitude of destruction of human life the Khmer Rouge forced upon the people of Cambodia. Patricia McCormick has told Arn Chorn-Pond’s story well and my hat goes off to Arn for having the stamina, courage and fortitude to change from being a killing machine to a man of peace. An excellent piece of work!
Date published: 2012-10-28

Editorial Reviews

Praise for PURPLE HEART: “Gripping details of existence in a war zone bring this to life.”