May 10, 2012

Book Review: Lulu in the Sky by Loung Ung


Title: Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing and Double Happiness by Loung Ung
Published April 17, 2012; HarperCollins paperback
Rating: 5/5

Lulu in the Sky is the third book in a trilogy memoir by Loung Ung, a refugee from war torn Cambodia who came to the U.S. as a child with her oldest brother and his wife, settling in Vermont. Now an adult who is dedicated to Cambodia's future and working to ban landmines all over the world, she finally married her college sweetheart Mark. This happened after many years of putting off her commitment to personal happiness - to deal with the memory of her parents' and sisters' death in Cambodia during the war and leaving behind part of her family when she left Cambodia.

These experiences are the topic of the author's two previous memoirs, First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child. The two books detail the excesses of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, when millions of Cambodians were killed or executed, including Loung's parents and tells about the author's escape and arrival in America. In Lulu in the Sky, Loung tells us how she came to be reconciled with the past, to live in the present and continue into the future.
I don't need anyone. Even as I whispered this to myself, I knew I was lying.
"Why do you want to be with me when I'm such a mess?" I asked.
"Because you're brave and passionate and tender; you're a child and a wise woman."
"But I'm broken..."
"You're not broken. Not to me. Never to me."
Mark's kindness and compassion were what drew me to him in the beginning of our relationship. (ch. 18)
Loung exorcises the ghosts that haunt her by talking to a therapist, by writing about her experiences, and becoming an activist for international justice. She eventually finds happiness in her work and in her marriage to Mark.
For nine months, I revisited my childhood in Cambodia. With Mark and my friends at my side, I poured my love, anger, and hate into the computer. And in the midst of this writing, I traveled back and forth to Cambodia as a spokesperson for VVAF, leading delegations of supporters and public figures to tour our centers. (ch. 19)
The author continues to give lectures around the country and to talk to book clubs and other groups about her experiences and her international work. Her memoir is very moving. The detail in her books and her extraordinary memory, her clear writing, makes this book and the first two a must for those who know about the brutal history of Cambodia and for those who want to know more.


Loung Ung is an author, lecturer, and activist. She has advocated for equality, human rights, and justice in her native land and world wide for more than fifteen years. Ung lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband.

For other tour stops and reviews of this book, visit Lulu in the Sky Book Tour, sponsored by TLC Book Tours.

Thanks to TLC and the author, publisher, for a complimentary review copy of this book. 

6 comments:

  1. (I'm not sure if my other comment was accepted, so I am trying again. Please delete this if it's a duplicate.)

    This sounds like a very touching memoir, and a good way to learn about Cambodian history.

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  2. Suko: I knew a little about Cambodia but this book really brought home what it meant to lose loved ones needlessly and to endure extreme political turmoil and occupation by a neighboring country.

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  3. 5 out of 5?! I know this sounded amazing, but that rating definitely convinces me - I REALLY want to read this one myself!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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  4. I read her first memoir while I was in Cambodia a few years ago and just finished Lucky Child. She has a very direct writing style which increases the impact of her subject matter. I will definitely read this one too.

    Thanks for linking up to the Immigrant Stories Challenge.

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  5. Great Review.

    Stopping by for a look around.

    OLD FOLLOWER.

    Elizabeth

    Silver's Reviews

    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

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  6. She's going to be at my library Tuesday night but I don't know if I'll be able to go :(

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