In the Shadow of the Banyan

Cover In the Shadow of the Banyan
Dakota says:
Bleh! I know, I know. Everyone else gives this 5 stars. I couldn't get past 100 pages.With the plot about a family forced to flee Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge during the 1975 war in Cambodia, this sounds like a book you can't put down, especially when written by someone who lived through this. But instead of an action packed book, we are treated to a little action described by a seven year old girl and someone (supposedly the same person) with an adult's vocabulary describing other things (food, vegetation, nusic) which did not add to the plot and made the whole book seem bloated, overwritten and clumsy. The style of writing and the plot do not match. It would have been much more interesting and held my attention if it had not been written in the first person singular or front the viewpoint of a child. It is extremely difficult to write as a child and keep the interest of adult readers. This book did not make the grade.
sharon says:
Phnom Penh, 1975. Seven-year-old Raami was
... a little princess, a distant member of the large Cambodian royal family leading a privileged life. But when the Khmer Rouge took over, she and her family were driven from Phnom Penh to the countryside just like all those thousands of other Cambodians, to work in the rice fields and dig irrigation canals. Many of her fellow Cambodians wouldn't make it, but Raami somehow held on to the ancient stories that her father had told her, giving her hope and the strength to survive.As the author was only five when she went through more or less what Raami is telling us, In the Shadow of the Banyan is a fictionalised autobiography that combines her own vague memories with what she now knows must have happened during those years. At times, Raami's observations seem too wise for a seven-year-old and this renders the story a bit unrealistic. However, this is a compelling narrative tackling one of history's worst tragedies, and the writing is not bad at all for a debut novel on such a difficult topic.Please keep writing, Vaddey Ratner. You're doing just fine.MoreLess
In the Shadow of the Banyan
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User Reviews:

Guest 5 years ago

I read a trite review of this book and wondered at the lack of insight of previous readers. Although I found part some parts of this book hard going, it was due to the dreadful subject matter and not the writing style or voice at all. Truth is stranger than fiction and so very brutal in some cases. To survive the brutality of this true narrative is truly a testament of human resilience and the redemptive power of love and family. Well worth the read.

Guest 7 years ago

Love the book couldn't stop reading. I am happy she survived. Now I want to visit Cambodia.

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