Betsy's Reviews > Strangers in the Land of Egypt

Strangers in the Land of Egypt by Stephen March
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's review
Jul 10, 09

liked it
Read in June, 2009

I read this as a bound galley so it is possible that some of my quibbles were fixed before publication. Initially, I was bothered by the use of so many examples of what the narrator was trying to get across. He would say, for example, that he liked this, that, that, that & that. It was too wordy! Then, I tried to overlook this and just get into the plot. The premise is an interesting one - a teenage boy who's gotten into trouble with the law is sentenced to community service - reading to an elderly Jewish man in a nursing home - rather than sent away to a juvenile detention facility. His crime was defacing a temple, along with his friends who didn't get caught and who he refused to rat out. I found overall that the plot did not move quickly for me even though there was so much going on. Jesse, the main character, has a huge chip on his shoulder - he lost his Marine brother to a bomb blast at an embassy, his mother has run off and his father was mugged and left for dead in an alley and suffered a debilitating brain injury due to the attack. Jesse now lives with his uncle G.T. We meet various friends of his, mostly teenage girls - Snookie, who he used to date, LaFay, who's searching for a father she never knew and Terra, the strong, silent one - all were stereotypes and somewhat two-dimensional. His buddies from the beginning of the book never make much of an appearance later. Overall I felt there was too much going on in this book and I never bonded with Jesse as he continued to make poor life choices.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by George (new)

George Mastras Are you enjoying this?... Looks interesting.

Betsy the jury's still out - i've got about 50 pages left to go...

Meghan I agree with your review, especially feeling as though I never ended up caring about Jessie as much as I wanted to. I can definitely see how moving and informative it might be for a teen, however.

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