Loung was 7 and she was living in her large family of her and her 6 siblings. Her Ma was a gorgeous woman and Pa was an government official for the Lon Nol government. Loung enjouys her perstige lifestyle. She’s a curious little girl and a little troublemaker. She was on the balcony when she saw men in trucks entering the city. She was really confused and curious about what’s happening. Soon enough the city was packed with men wearing black clothing and red scarves tied around their foreheads. The men demand for people to leave the city saying it’s temporary and that’s only for 3 days. These men were called Khmer Rouge and the leaders name was Angkar.
They had to rush out of their house as quickly as possible taking things that are urgently needed. The girls ask Ma to pack their New Year’s dresses. They go to their truck but on their way to the truck Loung get’s curious by the men shouting in microphones so she walks off to see. They first travel on the truck but get stopped by Khmer Rouge men and they told them that Angkar needs the truck so they had to walk by foot, starving and thirsty until they reach Krang Truop. To survive Pa tells his family to forget about their past and act like poor farmers because Angkar hates any association with the West, rich people or government officials. Then they had to move to village called Anlungthmor where they have to do Kanpur everyday. When famine starts, loads of people starve and die. They were attracting unnecessary attention and they have to move again to Ro Leap. The villagers were called base people and presented as model citizens and they are nice to Loung family. Loung is looking at villagers and cant understand why they are all angry and unhappy. The new clothes has to get destroyed and they must dye their clothes black. The solider was checking their bags and saw the New Years dresses which raised suspicion because they are quite expensive but Pa tried to erase that suspicion but the dresses got thrown into fire.
The villagers are treated as slaves. Lounge family has to work a thousand times harder so that they won’t get shot and prove they are value able. All the teenagers had to go to a work camp. Even more people die from the famine, disease that dead bodies spread and executions. Loung in sense of hunger steals some rice because she was starving. Pa knows that she stole but she’s too guilty to own up. Later on one of her older sisters dies. Pa insisted that they should keep moving and pretend nothing has happened. Later on they demand Pa to come and Pa understands that its the end for him so he embraces his family, tells her older brother to look out for the women that are in the family and Loung in sense of worry screams out Pa as when he leaves the small built house. Loung little heart was filling up with rage. A year has passed and her brother still tries to act like he’s the boss in the family. But he started stealing corn because they were starving. One day he gets caught and bet up by the soldiers as he begs for forgiveness and promises not to do it again.
They decided to start killing children so Ma tells her three children including Loung to go different ways for safety. They should say that they are orphans and never tell their name so that in case one of them gets caught they won’t be able to find others. The brother walks alone but the two sisters stay together. They find work at camp and they have to listen and participate in propaganda lessons saying that Angkar is the god and he’s the best. After a while they noticed Loung is quite a smart girl so they sent her off camp of children soldiers. They teach her on how to make and plant bombs, how to use weapons and trained as monsters. They were told to never give up or surrender. After few months Loung is able to see Ma. Later starvation hits again and Loung gets ill and she has to walk to the infirmary that’s miles away. She reaches there and surprised to reunite with most of her family. But the happiness didn’t last long and Loung steals rice from and elderly woman.
The rumors of Youn attack spread everywhere. Loung gets permission to go to her sister but sneaks where Ma and her sister stayed but finds out the solider took them a day before. She starts crying and anger and sorrow fills up in her. Now that Youns start invading and Loungs bombs start going off. Everyone runs for their life joined a whole bunch of crowd. Loung is able to find her sister and brother and they walk for ages until they reached people who Loung then realizes we’re the Youns she was thought to be aware of. The Youns tell them to go to a refugee camp. Then she finds out that Youns went into Cambodia few weeks earlier and destroyed Pol Pot. Loung and her siblings find a family that takes them in but those people are very cold hearted. One day their son tried to sexually assault Loung. Then a Youn soldier tries to rape Loung but she escapes from him. Her foster mother shouts at her because she brought back only a tiny bit of wood.
Then Khmer Rouge starts attacking Youn camp. Loung and her siblings manage to stay alive by going in an abandoned warehouse. Then she finds her other two brothers that ran away from their camps when Youn invasion was happening and made it to Pursat City too. Both brothers are tired to death. But Loung is happy that she has someone that would take care of her and that she’s not all alone. Youns capture a Khmer Rouge soldier and they put him on a hill where group of people surrounding him start releasing their anger and beating him while Loung tries to squeeze trough the crowd to be aware of what’s happening. Loung saw her dad in that person so with strong little voice Loung cries out Pa then stares at the man and leaves with other civilians. The siblings were re-united again with their older brothers. Then the story ends where they’re in the present on the ground praying to monks while holding hands.