The Stones Cry Out Critical Context - Essay

Molyda Szymusiak

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Szymusiak’s autobiography has probably had quite an impact on the genre of juvenile war literature. She discusses a period in Southeast Asian history that was riddled with conflict and civil war. In some ways, the book resembles other books that have been published on both the Vietnam War and the Cambodian civil war, but it adds a new dimension: The story is told by a Cambodian youth. Readers of The Stones Cry Out will gain a new perspective of the time in question because of Szymusiak’s unique viewpoint. Rather than seeing the takeover by the Khmer Rouge from the point of view of a military or government official, the reader will see the conflict from the point of view of one of the innocent victims. Consequently, the reader can relate to the narrator more easily.

Szymusiak’s motivation can best be described as informational, as she wants her story and that of her family and friends to be told and remembered. The impact of The Stones Cry Out cannot be underestimated. The stark, realistic details that Szymusiak provides are moving. In addition to providing a firsthand account of a terrifying situation, Szymusiak presents a portrait of human courage.