Customer Reviews for

Mornings in Jenin

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 29, 2010

    A heartbreaking, eye-opening novel

    "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off:" one of my favorite quotes, from Gloria Steinem, aptly captures the experience of reading "Mornings in Jenin." As someone who grew up with westernized versions of history, I'm ashamed to admit I'd been relatively clueless about the Palestinian experience. This novel reached inside me, challenged everything I thought I knew, and broke my heart. I've read a handful of books in my life that were truly mind-altering experiences, and this was one of them. I finished the book last week and it's still haunting me.

    The novel covers most of the 20th century and into the 21st through the eyes of one Palestinian family, and spans Palestine, Israel and America as the family members struggle to find safety. A beautiful portrait is painted of a family rich in history, tradition, and devout faith. But war touches each generation, leaving none unscathed. The author captures the psychological terror of living through war, especially as it looks to children. The prose of the novel is just exquisite. While the stories are heart-wrenching, there is also a strong note of hope and resilience that resonates throughout the novel. Abulhawa does an incredible job of showing the reader what it has meant to be a Palestinian in the last century, and through her fictional characters, she presents a stunning truth that many of our history books, sadly, have not. Very highly recommended.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2011

    Excellent

    A wonderful story. Although it is a novel, and technically fiction, the story describes the tragic situation in Palestine very well. A must read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2010

    Mornings in Jenin is many things...

    "Mornings in Jenin" by Susan Abulhawa is many things. In summary, it's the story of one family's struggle and survival through over sixty years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, carrying us from the refugee camp of Jenin to Jerusalem to Lebanon and the anonymity of America. A patriarch dies returning to his stolen farm, a baby is taken from his Arab family and raised by survivors of the holocaust, a father and daughter read together in the early dawn of a refugee camp dreaming of a brighter future, two girls play together under the guns of an occupying army forming a life-long friendship, a young women raises her daughter - alone - in the safety of America but returns to the horrors of war.

    "Mornings in Jenin" is a love story. It's the story of four generations of one family's love for each other through the trials of dispossession, diaspora and death. A father's love provides the inspiration for his children to seek education in spite of huge odds. A mother's love provides the strength to endure horrible loss. A husband's love turns him from the path of revenge and destruction. A brother's longing for love leads him on a life-long journey for acceptance. One character describes the depth of their love like this:

    "It is the kind of love you can know only if you have felt the intense hunger that makes your body eat itself at night. The kind you know only after life shields you from falling bombs or bullets passing through your body. It is the love that dives naked toward infinity's reach. I think it is where God lives."

    "Mornings in Jenin" is also a horror story. Not in the classic sense of vampires, zombies or mysterious slashers, but in the sense of everyday horrific acts "ordinary" humans do to one another that populates our news: kidnapping children, political rape, murder and torture. This book slashes through the thin veneer of fiction surrounding the "Palestinian problem" in the Middle East and shows us the stark reality of a people dispossessed. It's not a new story; humans have been killing each other for land and resources from the dawn of time. But told through the lives of individuals, this inhumanity is a visceral punch in the gut, stealing your breath, and leaving you in tears.

    "Mornings in Jenin" is a political statement. The author is the daughter of Palestinian refugees and grew up in the US, but she's worked in the camps and visited Jenin shortly after the 2002 Israeli invasion of the camp. It was that experience, and subsequent cover-up of the massacre there, that led her to write this novel. She makes little effort to be "balanced" or present the "Israeli side" because that version is what is front and center in Western media. Her purpose is to correct the imbalance; to tell the "Palestinian side" -- which is generally ignored in the mainstream -- through literature. It is relentlessly sad with a slim hope for change at the end.

    Ultimately, "Mornings in Jenin" is a wonderful piece of literature about an enormously difficult subject. The writer obviously grew up reading poetry. The sentences and paragraphs sing with a poetic rhythm and interesting choice of words. I recommend this book, but beware it is an emotional roller-coaster.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Hard to take, harder to put down

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Very Good Read

    Excellent depiction of the plight of the Palestinian people

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    Good read :)

    Very well written. Good story line, and definitely takes the emotions for a ride.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    I stumbled across this very well-written book and hope that it g

    I stumbled across this very well-written book and hope that it gets the readings it deserves. Other people have described it better than I can. Definitely one of those books that everyone should read. Would be a great read for a book-club. It is a book that sticks with you long after reading it.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    One of the best-written and moving books I ever read.

    One of the best-written and moving books I ever read.

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  • Posted May 18, 2014

    Highly, highly recommended!!!!

    I found this book to be a great read. If one is lookinfg for a page turner in a book, this is it. It has everything from love to murder, from family to friends, from birth to death. I would recommand this book to anyone who is in search of good information. It is a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    This novel, more.than anything I've read on the Palestinian situ

    This novel, more.than anything I've read on the Palestinian situation, humanizes the Palestinian state of mind. We viscerally feel her pain and agony on each page, and several passages have brought me to tears. The author writes lyrically, and in such a way that you feel and identify with her every observation and emotion. This book should be on every required reading list in schools, and in every book club in the country.

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  • Posted December 23, 2012

    A wonderfull heartbreaking story about a family struggle under t

    A wonderfull heartbreaking story about a family struggle under the Israeli occupation. It is about hope, suffering, and loss. It is a must read  masterpiece.  Many thanks to the author Susan for her great talent and courage to tell the world the Palestinian side of the conflict.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    A personal, war torn tradgedy that is written with a keen perspective.

    This story represents, from a personal family point of view, of the suffering that has existed since time began. The brutal quest to claim land happens, in all corners of our globe, as our history tells; an inate human desire to have better & more no matter the cost.

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    Posted June 8, 2011

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