Initial Thoughts: The Journey of a Cambodian Cowboy

This book isn’t divided into chapters, but rather into small sections, generally one or two paragraphs long. When I drafted this post, I had read a meager three sections. (Update: I’ve finished it!)

The Journey of a Cambodian Cowboy has less than 80 pages. It has less still if you consider the fact that only half the pages are English and that it contains pictures throughout.

I expect I’ll whizz through this book really quickly, and thought I’d better stop and record my first impressions before I get too far in. (<– My words from when I drafted this post yesterday)


I like the author’s voice. It’s easy and authentic. It feels just like listening to a fluent ESL speaker in person. The grammar is correct and everything makes sense, but sometimes things are worded in a way that is just… different. I don’t know if you’ve ever spoken with an ESL speaker, but the wording intrigues me and it makes me think of things in a different light.

The autobiography started with life before grade one of school. Author Roeury tells about his childhood job of tending his family’s cows – “his cows” as he would call them.

Having met the author and read the preface, I had an inkling that this was going to be a sad story. That really hit home in the last section I read entitled “Daily Life in my Family.” My heart hurt for the family torn apart by alcohol abuse.

Skimming through the names of the rest of the sections, I can tell there will be more sad stories before Roeury finds consolation and success in the realm of education.

I still hope to gain further insight into the minds and worldviews of Cambodian’s in general, if not only this particular man, through the rest of his story. I get the feeling that education has been his “savior” and I wonder whether or not he feels as though it’s salvation is complete and fulfilling.


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