Meaghan's Reviews > A Map of Home

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar
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's review
Jun 30, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: childrens-young-adult-fiction, read-in-2010, adult-novels, around-the-world
Read from June 30 to July 02, 2010

This is a fairly typical coming-of-age story, beginning with the birth of the narrator, Nidali, and ending when she goes away to college. The most atypical thing about it is the unusual setting and the characters' unusual national/ethnic origin. Nidali was an Arab girl born in Boston, raised in Kuwait, where her younger brother was born. Her father was Palestinian and her mother Greek/Egyptian. After the 1991 invasion of Kuwait, the family fled to Egypt, then moved to America when they realized there was no going home again. It's clearly based on the author's own life.

I deeply enjoyed this story. (It had many hilarious passages, like the time Nidali's aunt's car, which the aunt hated, broke down because she deliberately hadn't changed the oil in years. Then her aunt accidentally-on-purpose set the car on fire.) Nidali had some very colorful relatives, in particular her parents: her mother, a frustrated pianist, and her father, a frustrated poet, who was loving but often abusive towards his wife and children. The only character I didn't really get a sense of was Nidali's brother Gamal.

I would recommend this to people who like coming-of-age stories, funny books about dysfunctional families, or stories about Arab people.
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06/30 page 55
01/23 marked as: read
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