Patty's Reviews > Mornings in Jenin

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
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I have been resisting this book. My mom suggested that I read this more than a year ago and I kept putting it off. I knew it would be good, but I also knew it would be depressing. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict causes me personal frustration.

My college roommate live in Tel Aviv. Her sons have served in the Israeli army. I have visited her and I have been to Bethlehem - on the other side of "The Wall". I want what is best for all the people in that part of the world, but I have no idea what "best" would look like. Life is really a mess for many, many people in Palestine/Israel.

Susan Abulhawa is Palestinian. Her novel is very clearly told from her family's and her own memories. The writing is clear, wonderful and a joy to read. However, if you are looking for an unbiased tale, don't look here. This novel is emotional and will tug your heart toward the Palestinian cause. This is the sign of a good storyteller. In the end, I was glad I read this family's tale and I am sorry I waited so long.

The generations in this book are fascinating characters. There are farmers, scholars and possibly terrorists. There are good friends who are there through violence and pain. Abulhawa is a good storyteller, I was glued to this book until I finished it even though it was a very hard read. She knows how to move her readers and make them connect with her protagonists.

My only problem with this book is small, but now that I have figured it out, I am very bothered. There is almost nothing here about the Arab Christians. They certainly have been impacted by this conflict and I would be surprised if Abulhawa had never met a Palestinian Christian. She has to know they are part of the story. I will give her this, remembering to include the Christians would have made a difficult tale even harder to write.

I recommend this novel to anyone who thinks that any war has one side. I think book groups would have great discussions with this book especially if they read a bit of history with it. I also suspect that readers of family sagas would fall right into this story; there is more conflict than most sagas, but this is a riveting tale.
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