Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

The book title, Never Fall Down, is borrowed from a command Arn Chorn-Pond gave himself in order to survive. He lived through the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Though Patricia McCormick tells Arn’s true story in a fictional format, she interviewed him extensively and traveled with him to the Cambodian places named in the story. Here is Young Adult literature that demonstrates how a boy of war becomes a man of peace. From the reader, it demands courage as few books do. It hauls open the eyes, wrenches the heart, and forever enlarges one’s compassion. McCormick has done the world a great service by bringing Arn’s story to light.

Here’s a clip from Harperteen: Author Patricia McCormick interviewing Arn Chorn-Pond:   

New York: BalzeR + Bray/harpercollins, 2012



2 Responses to “Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

  • Dear Susa,

    I came across your review thanks to Google Alerts and just wanted to say thank you. You captured something very important about the book – something that other reviewers haven’t mentioned directly. namely, that it demands courage from the reader. so often, people have mentioned that it’s a tough read. But what is so smart about what you said is that we just need to summon up a little courage – not nearly as much as Arn did – but that that courage will be rewarded.

    thanks, you made my day.


  • Susa Silvermarie
    10 years ago

    Oh Patty, I am honored that you resonate with my words about your work. Labeling a book a tough read leaves us as powerless as turning away from awful global news that begs our response. “Summoning courage” puts the choice and new possibilities back in our hands. And yes, you give us an example of a human being who found that courage. In this way you give us hope. Thank you.