Live to Tell is a gripping testimony from Sonita Zainal of bone true facts and emotional recollections; designed to show the world how even when only a young girl, from age five; for four years, with amazing grit and determination, she could endure and survive the horrendous Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia – eventually escaping through jungle infested landmines to United Nations refugee camps in Thailand.
After losing her beloved father when only six years old, and already a victim of opportunistic abuse, Sonita became a child slave – constantly putting herself in danger; with determination and initiative, to avoid starvation – showing a stay alive against all odds attitude in desperation to survive, and a witness to barbaric atrocities of that crazed, murderous regime. So, in order to manage her own survival; relying only on personal initiative, Sonita quickly became an adult minded, responsible kid – without a natural childhood. She only remembers two playthings; one she would rather have done without.
The writer has presented shocking and unbelievable – yet unfortunately true stories, of victims and survivors of that barbaric and misguided regime; showing herself to be deeply empathetic to those – particularly women – who were themselves young at that time, and now live everyday with haunting memories of their traumatic experiences – often, the loss of innocent loved ones.
This book is not just a sequence of stories of events, but is impregnated with profound reflected understanding of behaviours and inspirational teaching; to give it worthy credit of being a meritorious literature. It is cleverly written, in the manner of the author’s child mind, at the time of events portrayed – she is even able to show some fun and humour; as a child may naturally seek to express – even in appalling circumstances.
Sonita impresses with her candid honesty; giving stark exposure of dreadful life situations; that most of us from secure backgrounds, would find hard to imagine. Readers are sure to be captivated and enthralled by this book; finding it hard to put down until read. Those who have had a difficult childhood, will find an understanding, compassionate and inspiring friend.