Friday, October 15, 2010

Mornings in Jenin

Mornings in JeninMornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the West, when we hear of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, we rarely get the Palestinian side of the story. This book is that story.

Mornings in Jenin is the story of a Palestinian girl, Amal, and her family, living through six decades of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As such, it is brutal at times. There are scenes of torture, brutality, and killing. War is brutal business and Abulhawa doesn't let you forget it. People are senselessly killed left and right.

Amal's story was an extremely sad one. Every time things start goign her way, the rug gets jerked out from under her. I almost teared up in front of co-workers at one particularly poignant scene near the end. The book was originally titled the Scar of David. David is Amal's brother, lost as an infant and raised as an Israeli. Amal finally meets up with her brother decades after he'd been lost in yet another tear jerker. Her return to Jenin after years of exile in America was the best part of the book.

I could see how some people could criticize Mornings in Jenin as being anti-Jewish but I don't think so. Ari Perlstein is portrayed as a benevolent man. Besides, the story is told from the poiont of view of the Palestinians. Of course the Jews aren't going to be looked upon in the most favorable light.

Mornings in Jenin is a good read. Just be prepared to have your emotions repeatly stomped on.

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