Mornings in Jenin: A Novel - Susan Abulhawa Finished: I have been complaining incessantly about this book - that too much Palestinian history is packed into this one family's life and that the two sides, Palestinian versus Jewish are drawn up in black and white terms. These critiques remain, BUT when you get drawn into Amal's life the author brings heart to the writing. You care terribly much for her. All the misery of the best generations are loaded onto her back. If you hadn't know of these past experinces you wouldn't have understood her. She becomes fully rounded by the author's marvelous depiction of her friendships with Huda and Muna and her growing understanding of her mother. Then she falls in love...... and that too is beautifully depicted. Although you can pretty much guess what will happen, you care about her and her family so you empathize with her. At the end I feel I better understand how the Palestinians feel. You do not comprehend the facts as well if you just hear statistics rather than live it through another's life. This book lets you do that. The horror of many Palestinian lives is in your bones after reading this book. So much literature has been written expressing the Jews' pov. In my gut I understand their horrors. Now I understand both in a way that I didn't before. This book is needed too. So where do you end up? You end up weeping for mankind! Solutions seem impossible when BOTH sides have had such injustices forced upon them..... Is there a feasible solution?! Jerusalem - how can that ever be resolved? You cannot erase history. What has happened continues to influence the future. That is how people are. So where does that leave us? Me, I have to read Haim Harari's book entitled A View from the Eye of the Storm: Terror and Reason in the Middle East.
Thank you Tara for giving me this book!

Through page 212: This book is a bit of a roller coaster. I am happy b/c things are turning around. As I suspected the book is focused on Amal. The author does a very good job of describing her despair and her happiness. Am I sucker for a little bit of love? Who isn't?! OK, I have a feeling that things might turn bad again, but at least Amal has happiness too. She deserves it. I am not so negative any more. It is just a better story b/c Amal has become a real character that you care for. I do. Mind you, I wouldn't want to read a super happy "nice" novel either. The balance has to be right, and I still stand by the criticsm voiced below.

Through page 147: The author convincingly depicts the friendships between Amal and Huda and later Amal and Muna. The book isn't all bad. There is a good dictionary of Arabic words at the back. The history is accurate. However, as I said below and in the comments to this review he feeling that all Palestinian experiences must be jammed into this one family makes the story unbelivable. My most harsh criticism is the painting of all Jews black and all Palestinians white. That I cannot stomach! I WILL finish the book. I need to see how it ends - so that ust mean it has my attention. Another positive point!

Through page 76:Mornings in Jenin is good, but I cannot help comparing it to The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East..... the latter being better! Jenin is very plot driven - this happens and then this and then this. Sometimes I feel the author is throwing in all thing that have happened to the Palestinians to make the picture "complete". So it ends up feeling like fiction. Since the novel is so plot driven, you don't get that close to the characters. Perhaps this will change. I believe the story will now center on Amal, who is at this point 12. Horrendous crimes of humanity have been perpetrated. It is not easy to read. All of there horrors in the space of 76 pages is hard to stomach. And it is one-sided. This iIS what has happened to the Palestinians. In the past much more has been written about the plight of the Jews, so this is a book that is needed. What was so wonderful about The Lemon Tree is that BOTH sides were depicted movingly, all within the same book. But hey, I have only read 76 pages. Maybe my view will cahnge.

I just five minutes ago received this in the mail from Tara!

THANK YOU so very, very much!
What do you know, the mail seems to be working, both Tara and I have had some truly bed experiences with postal services.....