Kat Bryan's Reviews > A Map of Home

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar
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Oct 06, 2009

Read in August, 2009

I read this thinking it was a true story – I don’t know why. And thinking it was real, I didn’t like how the author wrote about her life. Now that I’m done and realize that it IS a novel, I still don’t like the story very much but I did find it very interesting. The tone of the book was somewhat juvenile like a young girl really was telling the story. It does do a good job of portraying life in the Arabic countries, putting a fresh spin on the life of a young girl there.




The book is reviewed as ‘funny’; I didn’t find it so. The whole family went through a lot as the father moved them from place to place because of his job and later because of the Iraqi war. He felt frustrated and took it out on his wife and the two kids who he beat regularly. For example, here’s one passage where Nidali and her brother Gamal are comparing bruises from their father’s beatings. “Gamal and I compared our bruises like bomb sites on two different maps. ” That may be a cute comment but beating kids is not funny. Nidali is smart but also a smart ass. She thinks nothing of cussing at shopkeepers or taxi drivers or her parents. She uses the bidet to masturbate and practices kissing with her girlfriends. The book also has references to things that left me completely in the dark like this – “…. Baba took us all out to Zephyrion restaurant in Abu-Qir that night ....... On the way there we made fun of the name “Abu-Ear.” I called it Father-widn, and we all decided that’s what we’d call it from then on.” What the heck does that mean? I don’t mind books using foreign words when necessary but when I have no idea what they mean, I don’t like it.
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