Customer Reviews for

Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World

Average Rating 3.5
( 40 )
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(15)

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(5)

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(8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

a terrific read

this book held my interest.................it is a book about the incredible lives and resiliance of a family forced to leave all that was dear to them--each member of the family beautifully chronicled. Ms. Lagnardo is a wonderful (non-fiction) story teller--I read it f...
this book held my interest.................it is a book about the incredible lives and resiliance of a family forced to leave all that was dear to them--each member of the family beautifully chronicled. Ms. Lagnardo is a wonderful (non-fiction) story teller--I read it for my book club (best choice) and recommend it to everyone including my Mom...
(The photos were a great addition and added so much to the narrative).

posted by sadiecs on March 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

This is a very touching book but it has it's weak points.

My heart went out to this family for all that they went through as refugees from egypt who never really made roots in america.It was a sad account.However i was not that impressed with the writing skills of ms Lagnado.I kept having the feeling that she wanted to glorify...
My heart went out to this family for all that they went through as refugees from egypt who never really made roots in america.It was a sad account.However i was not that impressed with the writing skills of ms Lagnado.I kept having the feeling that she wanted to glorify her father and that her accounts were not so accurate.For example,they lived in a rented apartment in egypt and owned practically nothing,yet she contradicts herself regarding that matter in the book,and appears to be over glorifying what they left behind.

posted by mayaTD on December 5, 2009

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    This is a very touching book but it has it's weak points.

    My heart went out to this family for all that they went through as refugees from egypt who never really made roots in america.It was a sad account.However i was not that impressed with the writing skills of ms Lagnado.I kept having the feeling that she wanted to glorify her father and that her accounts were not so accurate.For example,they lived in a rented apartment in egypt and owned practically nothing,yet she contradicts herself regarding that matter in the book,and appears to be over glorifying what they left behind.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    This is not a tribute to her father, it's a tribute to herself.

    This book was recommended for my book club. I found the writing very ordinary. The author changes person throughout the book. Her father is Leon, Father, Dad, my father; her mother is Edith, Mother, Mom, my mother. I began the book with high hopes. The presmise is new, Jews from Egypt treated badly. However, after about fifty pages, it became repetitive and banal.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    a terrific read

    this book held my interest.................it is a book about the incredible lives and resiliance of a family forced to leave all that was dear to them--each member of the family beautifully chronicled. Ms. Lagnardo is a wonderful (non-fiction) story teller--I read it for my book club (best choice) and recommend it to everyone including my Mom...
    (The photos were a great addition and added so much to the narrative).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This book was extremely readible and informative. I liked it so much that I just ordered her next book, The Arrogant Years.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    Involving, well written book

    I loved this book. It was beautifully written, provocative and definitely worth reading. I would recommend this to anyone I know, especially those interested in Holocaust history. I learned a tremendous amount that I didn't know about Jewish people in Egypt during that time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2008

    A very moving and beautifully written memoir...

    It was really by chance that I picked this book up off the shelf. I was drawn to the family photos on the front cover and sat down to start immediately with Chapter One. I finished the book in three days and was so moved by the writing that I had to email Ms. Lagnado to share with her my thoughts and how her book moved me. The tone of the book, while not bubbly or happy, was very comforting to me. Right from the start, you are taken on this journey into Ms. Lagnado's parents' lives, and through her words, you sense the beauty of Cairo. She offers such fantastic memories of what Malaka Nazli represented for her, the tradition of her family, journey to America and settling down in Brooklyn as new immigrants but bringing some of the old world tradition, and most of all, the bond between her and her father, Leon. And for a reader to feel all this love, the love of their tradition, love of their home, and love between father and daughter, is a very moving experience. This is one of those rare books that I will treasure, and read and re-read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2007

    Great Book - Bad Title

    I can't remember the last time a story affcted me so deeply. Perhaps because the father-daughter relationship so closely resembled my own experience with a father who recently died. the tears came pouring down. Since the reader becomes so intimately involved with the members of Ms.Lagnado's family, one wonders how they are all doing today - a postscript would have been welcome. I would aslo have liked an explanation of her acceptance to Vaasar considering the family's limited finances. I can only surmise that with her obvious intelligence and abilities, a scholarship is the answer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    Interesting and moving story

    This was a very enjoyable and informative story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    I loved this book.  It reminded me of how difficult it is to be

    I loved this book.  It reminded me of how difficult it is to be an immigrant in America--and to think about what my own immigrant ancestors must have gone through to create the life that I now benefit from in America.  It was a slice of history -- the Jews from Cairo--that I knew nothing about.  It was also a beautiful tribute by a daughter to her somewhat difficult father; full of understanding and acceptance of what he was instead of anger over what he wasn't.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    Amazing

    Amazing book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    very interesting, somewhat sad

    Didn't realize the extent of the persecution of the Jews in Egypt and what they went through. Very sad how difficult it was for families to leave and find a new home, and only to have difficulty in assimilating to their new surroundings. The younger generation had an easier time, but the elders didn't.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Great Nonfiction!

    Loved it! Learned so much about Egyptian history around WWII.

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  • Posted November 25, 2011

    A First View of Lou Lou's Life

    The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit is one side of the autobiographical coin that has Lagnado's The Arrogant Years as its reverse side. I recommend reading both books, and in the order written. This book is a much less mature and sophisticated reminiscence than its successor. It is not as well written even though it is quite engaging. Where The Man in the Sharkskin Suit focuses on Lucette's father and their relationship, to the detriment of her mother, The Arrogant Years focuses on her mother and their relationship, to the detriment of her father. A reader who wants a more complete picture of Lagnado's life and family, needs to read both and then try to knit them together -- there are gaps and contradictions betwen them. That said, the books are moving and informative, each well worth reading for its picture of the less well-known diaspora of the Levantine Jews and of women's lives in this era.

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  • Posted September 5, 2010

    Extremely Unimpressed

    I kept reading, hoping it would get better, and it doesn't. After page 40, it was a struggle to get through. Her writing is detailed, yes, but to the point of annoyance, and she has no structure to the storyline; it bounces around. The story doesn't get a lot of my sympathy, because it seems as though quite a bit of the story is just over-the-top complaining. And the whole story is about her obsession with her father, which, can I just say, is very unhealthy. I hoped maybe this was just my perception of the story, but after meeting her and listening to her ramble about the injustice of having to assimilate to the "American Dream", and more of her adoration of her father, I would never recommend this book.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    a beautifully written book

    how often does a non-fiction book read like poetry? not too often but this book does...you feel as if you're in the moment...smell the smells, hear the music, feel the mystery...although written in English, it reads as if it's written in a more beautiful, lyrical language

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A great read.

    Engrossing. Lagnado's depiction of old Cairo is mesmerizing and so evocative. Her depiction of her parents as immigrants in a strange land - Brooklyn -- is so authentic and absolutely familiar to any reader who has also emigrated to this country as a very young child.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2009

    A nice tribute to her father

    I enjoyed this book. I found it interesting and informative and well written. I like the fact that she included photos which is an important addition.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    Candid Nostalgia of a Jewish Family Out of Egypt

    A beautifully written and poignant biography of a Jewish family's struggle to adjust and change in response to the passions and prejudices which emerged in the era of Nasser in Egypt. Written by the young daughter of the family, this work shows the resiliency of the young and the inability of the elders in the family to adapt and change. It is a vivid portrait of life for the middle class in the cosmopolitan side of Egypt in the Farouk era, and the stark changes that followed with the creation of Israel, and the Nasser dictatorship, and the hardships imposed on Jewish families during that process. The family's eventual emigration to Europe and then the United States is also a candid description of the immigration bureaucracy, public and private. A good read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2009

    Lucette Lagnado is brilliant!

    It is not very often that I find a book that once I begin reading, I cannot put it down! How refreshing. I am surprised that this book is not considered a memoir, because that is really what it is. I love how the author is able to portray her mother and father and many other relatives as the flawed characters that they are, as we all are, but in such a non-judgmental and loving way, which allows the readers to view them non-judgmentally as well. This book also enlightened me to Jewish life in Egypt before, during, and after WWII. You will not be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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