Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace by Kim Phuc Phan Thi

Book description:

Get out! Run! We must leave this place! They are going to destroy this whole place! Go, children, run first! Go now!

These were the final shouts nine year-old Kim Phuc heard before her world dissolved into flames―before napalm bombs fell from the sky, burning away her clothing and searing deep into her skin. It’s a moment forever captured, an iconic image that has come to define the horror and violence of the Vietnam War. Kim was left for dead in a morgue; no one expected her to survive the attack. Napalm meant fire, and fire meant death.

Against all odds, Kim lived―but her journey toward healing was only beginning. When the napalm bombs dropped, everything Kim knew and relied on exploded along with them: her home, her country’s freedom, her childhood innocence and happiness. The coming years would be marked by excruciating treatments for her burns and unrelenting physical pain throughout her body, which were constant reminders of that terrible day. Kim survived the pain of her body ablaze, but how could she possibly survive the pain of her devastated soul?

Fire Road is the true story of how she found the answer in a God who suffered Himself; a Savior who truly understood and cared about the depths of her pain. Fire Road is a story of horror and hope, a harrowing tale of a life changed in an instant―and the power and resilience that can only be found in the power of God’s mercy and love.

My review:

When I saw the cover of this book, I couldn’t wait to read it because I have wondered about the girl in the picture, if she survived the war, and what happened to her. Some pictures so perfectly capture an event that they can not help but pull the viewer in. This picture is one of the top five of all time, in my opinion. I did not realize that the girl in the photo was fleeing a Napalm attack or that she was naked because her clothes were burned away. I also did not realize that some of the people in the photo with her were relatives that did not survive. Learning the story behind the photo and about the person made it a lot more meaningful.

I learned a lot while reading this book. I was born at the very end of the Vietnam War, so I was not aware of a lot of the human suffering of the people of Vietnam. I found Kim’s stories of living and surviving in Vietnam in the midst of war to be very disturbing and inspiring. Although her physical injuries and pain was difficult to read about, the most disturbing aspect of her story was when she was used as a propaganda tool by her government.

Despite the pain and difficulty of her youth, Kim grew into a woman filled with grace and compassion. It was inspiring to read about her discovery of faith and the peace and happiness she experienced. I particularly enjoyed studying her family photographs of her husband and sons.

If you read only one biographical book in the next year, make it this one. It is a wonderful story of the strength of the human spirit and the blessings of faith.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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