Nov 21, 10
Read from November 03 to 14, 2010
** spoiler alert **
This book is a must for anyone interested in the current situation in the Middle East: it's engaging, humane, well-written and very informative. Ghada Karmi, a small girl in 1948, tells of her family's flight from Jersualem to Damascus and then to England, where her father worked for the BBC. Her parents never intended to settle in England permanently, but always planned to return to Palestine. Ghada, however, tried hard to become a "typical English girl" - quite a struggle in a society which, as she gradually realized, was unconsciously racist and entirely ignorant of her native culture. Surprisingly, this book is often quite funny, as well as moving and thought-provoking - Ghada's first experience of an English tea, for example, is unforgettable. I also found the ending (spoilers), in which Ghada returns to Jerusalem in order to try to track down her old nanny, Fatima, and her family home, absolutely riveting. You don't have to love history or politics to love this book. All you need is an open mind and an interest in people, cultures, families and how they interact. Highly recommended!