Amal is born into refugee life.
Book Group Discusses "Mornings in Jenin" - Event - Havurah Shalom
She grows up in the shadow of a mother that was devastated by the loss of a child. The father that read poetry to her in the early hours of the morning, the scenes that lend the book its title, is never seen again. Her mother slips into dementia, and her brother Yousef will soon leave to join the resistance. She grows up away from Jenin, and seeks an education in the United States.
In her ghorba life away from home Amal experiences western life and the contradictions it poses for Palestinians like herself. She will eventually travel to a refugee camp in Lebanon to reconnect with her brother.
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In Lebanon, she remembers her past, her love for the land and her family, and starts a family of her own. And just as stability seems to be coming back to her life, anchored by the cornerstone of family, tragedy strikes again. The massacres at Sabra and Shatila will devastate the Abulhejas in , just as devastated them in Jenin, just as devastated them in Ein Hod.
Amal raises her daughter, Sara, as a single mother.
She wants her to have nothing to do with Palestine, politics, and the wars that scared Amal literally and figuratively for decades. Ultimately it will be Sara, and her generation, which will carry the hopes of Palestine and Palestinians after Amal is gone. Mornings in Jenin is a must read.
It is sure to be an eye opening experience for those who know little about Palestine and an eye-watering experience for those who do. While the story is fictional, it is built on entirely plausible circumstances and entirely factual events and places. Many have waited for a literary contribution capable of explaining the Palestinian experience to the West.
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The wait is over, Mornings in Jenin is it. This book review may be used without permission but with proper attribution to the Center. The views in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund. The horrors of the Jenin camps forced her and gave her the courage to tell this story.
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