Here is my review, which I wrote in an email to my friend Michael-Ann:
Hey! So I really liked that book. It's interesting, it's different. I'm really curious to hear your take on it. The thing is that it's written in a very painterly style, with a VERY high metaphor to sentence ration. Like at times she piles so many similes on a page that the whole thing threatens to crumble. Ultimately I felt OK with it, it's a very impressionistic, episodic style here, rather than a straightforward narrative, I think because things like the war on terror and the Arab spring, and the histories of all these cultures and how they interact with each other and how the US has chosen to intervene or not intervene at certain times--it doesn't follow a straight-forward narrative. It's complicated and not easy to pick apart from the outside, and I think that's kind of her point. She goes to the Middle East as a journalist to try to report on the truth and basically the truth hands her ass back to her. The US is complicit in the violence that happens across the Middle East, and she can report on it as much as she wants, but it's not likely to change things over here, and it's certainly not going to help the the families there, being bombed from the sky.
So for me it was powerful and very engaging, she brings back people's stories, and it's clear the people she worked with there mattered to her. It's very “written” in places (and in the fact the epilogue is written in a much more plain style and I would have been curious to read that book as well) But it's a cool book, incredibly moving, I'm glad I read it.
The author went to our high school. I was in her older sister's class. So there's a few places where she says vague things about the town where she grew up and you can picture it fairly accurately. :)
Anyways. Hope you and your crew are having a good summer. We are SUPER LOOKING FORWARD to school starting again in the fall, I feel like we all struggle when the kids' schedules are more unpredictable. It feels like it's been a long summer, anyway.
Love you bunches