Friday, 11 September 2015

Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah

This is a story of hope in a land beaten down by fighting and hatred.  Where people are evicted from their lands and forced into refugee camps possibly to  languish for years.

It is also the story of a Hayaat,  13 year old girl who wants to travel to Jerusalem to fulfil her grandmother's dearest wish.  It is on this day long trip that we experience the hope for a positive future.  Throughout the day, Muslims, Christians and Jews together having peaceful conversation, helping each other even at cost to themselves.

Hayaat may young, but she has suffered much due to the strife in the West Bank of Bethlehem.  While this has made growing up difficult, it has played a major role in helping to shape the woman she is becoming.

I listened with rapt attention to this story.  A family of seven living in a small apartment.  While I couldn't imagine sharing a bedroom with my grandmother as well as siblings, I did envy the closeness that it brought them.  In our western society, it is more unusual for grandchildren to have such closeness with grandparents and I feel that is a shame.

Before reading this novel, I knew nothing about Palestine and the West Bank.  It has made me want to learn more.  This would be a good book for parents to rad and discuss with their children.

Kellie Jones did an excellent job reading the audio version.  Her use of accents and Arabic words brought the characters to life.  The written descriptions combined with the dramatic voicing left me feeling that I had truly stood on the hillside looking toward their ancestral home and feeling the wind that was blowing through the olive trees.

This is a five star book and I encourage you to find either a paper copy or the audio, read it and learn about a culture other than your own.

Author Randa Abdel-Fattah

No comments: