Friday, August 2, 2013

The Almond Tree

“You cannot go back and make a new start, but you can start now and make a new ending”  

Our July pick for book club was The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti.  Two of us had won it in a goodreads giveaway so we all thought, what the heck.  Wow.  It was loved by all and two of us admitted to reacting so emotionally and thinking, "how could I have not known? how does the world not know?"  It's that moving.  I highly highly highly recommend this.  It's going to the top of the list when people ask me what they should read.

" Good things make choosing difficult .Bad things leave no choice”

Description: Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his Palestinian friends and family. Ruled by the Israeli military government, the entire village operates in fear of losing homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes a reality. With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to the dangers of war, Ichmad begins the endless struggle to use his intellect to save his poor and dying family and reclaim a love for others that was lost when the bombs first hit."The Almond Tree" capitalizes on the reader's desire to be picked up and dropped off in another part of the world. It tackles issues that many Americans only hear about on World News or read about at The Huffington Post, such as the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the scholasticide that is being imposed upon the Palestinians in Gaza and the current Gaza blockade. But even more, it offers hope.

“Hatred is self-punishment.Do you think they're feeling bad because you hate them?”

This book.  It's almost too hard for me to talk about it because YOU JUST NEED TO READ IT.  Even in the awfulness of the world there is goodness. 
“Before you judge a person, try to imagine how you would feel if the same things had happened to you.”  

I would definitely recommend reading the About the Author from her website.  It really helped put the book in perspective as well.

“Courage, I realised, was not the absence of fear: it was the absence of selfishness; putting someone else's interest before one's own.”

This family suffered so much and all of it stemming from the fact that they were Palestinians in Israel.  I just cannot wrap my head around how it seems okay with everyone that they can be forced from their land, especially by a people who were also persecuted and EXTERMINATED.  And the Palestinians had nothing to do with it.  It is a life I cannot imagine and really really really encourage you to read this book.

“He looked me directly in the eye. 'So you live in America?'
'We do.' I smiled.
He stopped, opened his backpack, pulled out an empty tear gas grenade and handed it to me.
'I believe it was a present from your country.' Majid smiled. 'Tell your friends thanks. We got their grenade.”

And, no, this is not a memoir but it could be.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”   - Desmond Tutu

Have you read The Almond Tree? What do you know about the struggle in Israel of the Palestinians and Jews?

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