Title: Love Lifted Me
Author: MarJanita Geigley
Major Themes: Cambodia, Mennonites, Motorcycle Gangs
Synopsis: What could a survivor of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and a rebellious American biker possibly have in common?
As I was perusing my sister’s bookshelves recently, one of the books that sounded quite interesting was Love Lifted Me. The subtitle was especially intriguing, “How a Cambodian genocide survivor and an American biker found the Lord and each other.” What an improbable scenario! I had a hard time putting down this true story once I started it.
The story switches back and forth between perspectives. Part of the story is about Sat Pouv, who was only about seven when the Anka, or Khmer Rouge communists took over her homeland of Cambodia and forced nearly everyone in the country into forced labor camps. Their goal? To kill everyone who was not a farmer, and to force everyone else to slave for them. How could an eight-year-old possibly survive the horrible conditions she found herself in?
When Dennis was 12 years old, his father came home from his stint in the United States Army. Suddenly, the boy found himself living with a man who expected perfection from his sons, and acted like a drill sergeant. As a rebellious teen, he bought a Harley Davidson and joined and motorcycle gang—but something was missing. What could it be?
Both Dennis and Pouv met the Lord, though in different ways and on different continents—you’ll have to read the book to discover how. And why did a Mennonite publisher print their story? Read the book to find out!
I knew very little about the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia; mainly a few pages from National Geographic that mentioned the horrible atrocities committed there. This story gives a lot of details about it. That alone makes the book worthwhile—but Dennis’s story is also very worth reading. And then the ending is lovely! Don’t read Love Lifted Me, though, if you don’t like to read about suffering. Oh, one thing I appreciated was the pronunciation guide to Cambodian names!
WARNING: Several chapters give graphic details from the killing fields of Cambodia. There are also some graphic details about motorcycle gangs.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults