Hayley's Reviews > The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan
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Aug 20, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction, middle-east, modern-fiction, books-to-reread, popular-fiction
Recommended for: Anyone who would like to learn more about the Israel-Palestine conflict
Read in June, 2011

Before reading The Lemon Tree, I knew next to nothing about the Israel-Palestine conflict. And because of my ignorance, I did not feel comfortable discussing the subject with anyone. I had always wanted to learn more about the history of the conflict, but I could never find the time or motivation to research it. That was until I was assigned to read The Lemon Tree in one of my university classes and I am glad that I had the chance to do so.

The book follows the lives and family histories of Dalia Eshkenazi and Bashir Khairi. Dalia grew up being told an official narration of events that led to Israeli independence but always sensed there was more to the story than what she was told. She wanted desperately to know what had caused the former residents of her home to leave and what their story was. That was until Bashir and his cousins showed up on her doorstep one day. She and Bashir developed a friendship and as a result learned more about each other's perspective of the conflict.

I found The Lemon Tree to be both an informative and enjoyable read. I did however find that it was a bit dry in some parts, but I think that this speaks more about my ignorance leading up to the reading of the book than the author's writing style. I found it a bit difficult to keep up with how the conflict itself was building up and I wish I had had more background information before I read the book.

In my opinion, I thought that the author kept a balanced view on the conflict. Both sides were presented in a very human way by showing the deep fears that each side had what led to the motivation of their actions. Furthermore, neither side was made out to be the enemy.

After reading The Lemon Tree, I feel more informed about the conflict and the motivations, goals, and fears of both sides. I think that everyone can benefit from reading this book and I recommend it to those who feel like their knowledge is lacking or would like to see the conflict presented from another perspective.
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