Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Story by Hanan Al-Shaykh

This is a true story. Kamila Al-Shaykh, the author's mother, lived in Lebanon. Kamila's father left her family when she was young. Soon after, Kamila, her mother, and her brother moved to Beirut, the capitol. There, they lived with an old, strict family. When Kamila's sister, Manifa dies, Kamila is promised to Manifa's widower at the tender age of nine. At 13, she is married against her will to Abu-Hasan, Manifa's widower. She gives birth to her first child at age 15,but she does not love Abu-Hasan. She loves Muhammud, a 17-year old boy. Two years later, she gives birth to Hanan, the author. Things grow tight and tempers run high between her family and Muhammud. Kamila dreams of eloping with Muhammud, but she can't bear to leave her two daughters. Will she ever be able to marry her true love and begin the life she imagined?

I think this is definitely one of the better books I've read. It draws the reader in because it has so much new information. It's all about how life was in the typical Lebanon household. I think that because they were, and are so poor, that they have so much pleasure in small things. Just going to the movies, drinking coffee, and smoking cigars were wonderfully engaging pastimes. The book clearly expresses the emotions and tragedies of Kamila. The book is so sentimental. At the back of the book, There is an old, faded photograph of Kamila and Muhammud. You can see the youthful joy and happiness in them. It makes me want to cry. I think the author did that purposely, to make us remember her mother by writing each detail in a way that makes us want to mourn for Kamila. I think it is a wonderful book, and I would recommend it to people who are looking for a bit of a romance, but also some adventure.

There is lot's of cussing, and mention of sex. Also an inappropriate scene of romance.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle River, AK United States