This is a book about an activist, written by an activist, but it doesn’t preach and it doesn’t wag its finger at you. Nor does it shake its head and lower its voice and tell you you are nothing but a privileged white girl, largely ignorant of what the world looks like on the other side of your wall. As well it could. It challenges your preconceptions, but it doesn’t put you in a corner. Instead, it sets you free to roam through the narrative and observe, free to think and decide for yourself what you would like to take away from it, and keep. As all good literature should.
It is framed by history and politics, but without lecturing; it draws you, gently, into the complex, exotic but, at the same time, familiar reality of Maisoon, in a land where the conflict isn’t confined to the conflict zones but takes place, daily, within the people trying to make their lives there, in the best way that they can. Loyalty, the significance of tradition and the need to assert your identity in a place where such a thing is both necessary and dangerous come head to head with the deeply personal but universal quest for the truest version of yourself that you are comfortable with, no matter what form it takes.
This is a book about people, and people should read it. It does exactly what good literature should: it helps you, if you let it, to better understand yourself through the lives of others. No matter which side of the wall they live them in.