Josie's Reviews > Before We Say Goodbye

Before We Say Goodbye by Gabriella Ambrosio
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Oct 05, 11

bookshelves: five-stars, young-adult
Read in October, 2011

Before We Say Goodbye is a short book, but the writing is achingly bittersweet. It fictionalises the events of 29 March 2002, starting at 7am, and ending shortly after 2pm when Dima, an 18-year-old Palestinian suicide bomber, detonates her bomb, killing not only herself but a security guard and an 18-year-old Israeli Jewish girl. Myriam, the Jewish girl, looked so similar to Dima (they both had "lost eyes") that they were mistaken for sisters.

I read this book in one sitting, but it will stay with me for a long time.

There's a whole cast of characters but, unsurprisingly, it is Dima and Myriam who stand out. Dima, who, tired of the daily injustices and humiliations of her life in the camp where people fear retribution from the soldiers who guard them, decides to take matters into her own hands and restore her family's honour. Myriam, who, still traumatised by the death of her best friend Michael in a bombing two months earlier and unable to properly grieve, photographs trees. As Myriam begins to see a future for herself, and hope, Dima has already accepted she has neither.

This book doesn't judge. It doesn't take sides. It presents the facts as they are, and leaves the reader with a sense of loss but hopefully greater understanding.
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