From the Publisher
" [An] extraordinary debut . . . Jarrar's lack of sentimentality, and her wry sense of humor, make Home a treasure."
-People (four stars)
"A Map of Home will leave you laughing out loud."
"Randa Jarrar takes all the sappy, beloved clichTs about 'where you hang your hat' and blows them to smithereens in her energizing, caustically comic debut novel."
-The Christian Science Monitor
Jarrar's sparkling debut about an audacious Muslim girl growing up in Kuwait, Egypt and Texas is intimate, perceptive and very, very funny. Nidali Ammar is born in Boston to a Greek-Egyptian mother and a Palestinian father, and moves to Kuwait at a very young age, staying there until she's 13, when Iraq invades. A younger brother is born in Kuwait, rounding out a family of complex citizenships. During the occupation, the family flees to Alexandria in a wacky caravan, bribing soldiers along the way with whiskey and silk ties. But they don't stay long in Egypt, and after the war, Nidali's father finds work in Texas. At first, Nidali is disappointed to learn that feeling rootless doesn't make her an outsider in the States, and soon it turns out the precocious and endearing Arab chick isn't very different from other American girls, a reality that only her father may find difficult to accept. Jarrar explores familiar adolescent ground-stifling parental expectations, precarious friendships, sensuality and first love-but her exhilarating voice and flawless timing make this a standout. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Born in the United States to a Palestinian father and an Egyptian mother of Greek descent, Nidali begins life with an identity crisis on many levels. Originally assumed to be a boy, she is given a name that means "strife" or "struggle" by her father, who adds the feminizing "i" when he realizes that she is actually a girl. The family moves to Kuwait when Nidali is a baby and lives there until Iraq invades the country on Nidali's 13th birthday, forcing them to flee to Alexandria, Egypt, and eventually to Texas. Jarrar's debut novel is a coming-of-age tale told from Nidali's perspective, spanning her birth through acceptance into college. Since her parents fight constantly and her father is abusive, school serves as a refuge throughout, as Nidali studies hard, establishes friendships, and faces issues of belonging, parental expectations, religion, sexual experimentation, and rebellion. This wonderfully engaging work has vivid descriptions of the different places Nidali lives and the culture she grows up in; the only negative is that the novel is perhaps unnecessarily laced with strong language, which may make it less universally appealing. Highly recommended.
Sarah Conrad Weisman