Released October 3, 2017
Remember when I said that I was taking a break from the struggle memoir? Well, I didn’t realize that I also meant fictional struggle memoirs too. Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeleine Thein is a mystery/fictional memoir of life under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and how our main characters escaped to America.
These are important stories to read so if you have never learned about or have forgotten the atrocities that occurred in Cambodia you should read this fictionalized memoir. It’s a situation that is a combination of many more familiar crises that you will read about and know you’ve heard about before, but not quite like this.
I had a lot of trouble staying focused in this book, but maybe that was the point. The names changed a lot, and I was never sure if it was the woman main character or the missing professor’s flashbacks that were being described. I reached 50% on the digital ARC (provided by W.W. Norton and Edelweiss) and looked up and was like, “why am I still reading this? I know how this story ends.” So I decided to stop because I have too many books I’m excited to read to spend more time with this one.
This review is not a statement about the writing or the story. It is altogether possible you will find it compelling, interesting, and read it through all the way to the end. The writing was very well done and the story is interesting. It’s just that, as I’ve said before, I am not in a place right now where I want to read books where people slice their wrists open in front of me and lay their history and suffering bare for me to see and comment on. I am on suffering overload right now and another story about a dictatorial, brainwashing, murderous regime is just a bit too on the nose for me right now.
So definitely check out this book if you’re into learning history through fiction, or stories that are very personal and take you on a journey. I am sure if it was a different time I would have enjoyed it more. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.