Lizzie's Reviews > Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut

Jasmine and Fire by Salma Abdelnour
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's review
Jul 17, 12

bookshelves: permanently-discontinued, reviewed
Recommended for: foodies and no one else.

I got about halfway through Jasmine and Fire before I decided that I just couldn't take it anymore. I don't permanently abandon books often. Here's why I abandoned this one:

1) Abdelnour starts off the introduction in past tense - this is considered normal and appropriate for a memoir. The actual story itself is told in present tense. I simply couldn't handle this, because...

2) ...NOTHING HAPPENS. I'm halfway through the freaking book and all she's done (I'm sorry, this is present tense - all she is doing) is walking around Beirut and having awesome Lebanese dinners with family and friends. Apparently, somehow doing this will cause her to realize whether her home is New York or Beirut.

3) The misplaced descriptions are killing me, man. I adore Tolkein because he knew exactly how to utilize the English language to make incredible world-building descriptions. I was dying for Abdelnour to give me some wonderful, detailed descriptions of Lebanese culture and daily life. Instead, I got wonderful, detailed descriptions of delicious-sounding Lebanese food I'll never get to eat. Really, I know you're a food journalist, but this is just ridiculous. I do NOT need to know every single FREAKING meal you had the entire year you were there.

I'm very disappointed because I wanted so much to like this book, but the cultural snippets I got simply weren't enough to keep me going.
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Reading Progress

07/13/2012 page 72
21.0% "I'm getting interesting snippets of Lebanese culture, which is nice, but for the love of God, STOP WRITING LONG DESCRIPTIONS OF MOUTH-WATERING ARABIC FOOD I CAN'T HAVE."
07/14/2012 page 116
35.0% "You know you should drop the book you're reading when you get more out of reading the product descriptions from the heap & cheesy Heartland America catalog."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Justyna Tina Totally agree with your review. I'm dropping this book on page 89.

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