This worthy memoir provides a chilling account of the abusive relationship that the author fell into after she fled to...

BAMBOO PROMISE: THE LAST STRAW

PTSD SELF-HEALING

From the The Last Straw series , Vol. 2

A survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields chronicles her journey toward recovery in this sequel.

In the first volume of her autobiography, Houn (Prison Without Walls, 2012) described the horrors of her native Cambodia under the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, during which she lost her entire family and was subjected to starvation and forced to work as a slave laborer. This second installment shares her later experiences as she absconded to Thailand and eventually immigrated to the U.S., all the while wrestling with the terrible demons of trauma. PTSD, she writes, is “an invisible war. It is my past doing battle with my present. The trauma of this war has wounded my soul.” After her escape, Houn ended up in a refugee camp in Thailand, where she met Meng, a “man with Chinese eyes and thin lips” who introduced himself as a distant cousin on her father’s side. After she moved in with him, she endured another nightmare as Meng, a brutal alcoholic and womanizer, tormented and emotionally abused her. “Men can do anything they want,” he told her. “A man is gold, nothing sticks. A woman is like a white cloth, everything sticks.” In this vivid and disturbing account, Houn is unsparing in her detailing of what became her second marriage. After one suicide attempt, she was unable to answer when a doctor asked her, “Why did you harm yourself?” She reasoned: “What would happen if I told the truth? My husband would hurt me more or he would mock and laugh at me until I went mad.” In the U.S., a conversation with a co-worker whose son, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffered from PTSD left her frozen in fear: “I knew I had PTSD!!!” Houn deftly describes how she found recovery through a combination of acupuncture, massage, meditation, and Reiki therapy. “I have found that the first person I had to forgive was myself,” she discovered. “I was a blameless victim of forces much greater than myself.” The volume could have dispensed with the somewhat stilted observations of a psychologist that conclude every chapter. But overall, Houn provides a valuable addition to the literature of PTSD survival.

This worthy memoir provides a chilling account of the abusive relationship that the author fell into after she fled to Thailand.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5320-1502-1

Page Count: 322

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more