What I write pales in comparison to what you will find in the writing style and story within the pages of this book. If I could adequately describe how this book made me feel, I still would not do the book justice.
Mornings in Jenin is the story of four generations of Palestinians living through the birth of Israel and the never ending war that follows. The story centers on Amal, a women who is born in a refugee camp. Her story is one of loss, love and redemption.
I asked to review this particular book because I have always questioned the war between Israel and Palestine. I am torn between understanding the need for a permanent homeland after living through the horrors of WW2 and the way in which the country of Isreal was settled. When I was younger I would ask my elders to explain the actions of the two nations but try as they might, none could truly explain both sides. The issue of the two nations within one setting is very polarizing. I would hear about the Palestine terrorist but not the people. As a result I know little about the human story of Palestinians and thought this book may offer some insight into their world.
Abulhawa’s writing style is nothing short of amazing. Though this book is heartbreaking at every turn Abulhawa’s words sing out. Yes, they sing out and you as a reader are caught up in her song. Never mind that at times the pain becomes unbearable, the song of her words compel you the reader to stay with her. A little past half way I wanted to give up; there was too much death and heartache, but I stuck with it as the story needed to be told. As much as it hurt to hear it, this story does need to be told. We need to hear about the aftermaths of war. Not because we need to take one side or the other, but because we should pause before we pick a side. Abulhawa shows us that war scorches the lives of those who lay in the path of triumph. No one really wins in war expect death and pain as Abulhawa so vividly tells us.
After finishing the book I sat for a moment trying to collect my thoughts. A part of me disliked having to deal with the emotions and questions that washed over me while another part was so taken by the character and lives in Mornings in Jenin I was almost sad to have come to the end of the tale. For a few moments I was not sure if I could recommend this book or not as it is so full of loss but it dawned on me that one of the reasons I kept reading was because it opened my eyes to what real sadness and pain are. Sometimes we Americans get so caught up in our daily drama we tend to forget we are blessed, even when we are struggling. Mornings in Jenin will make you think, question and maybe cry. It is a testament to a people that before now had no voice. I highly recommend this book.