Current stop: Qatar.
Having a second world to belong to immediately made me cast doubt on my place in the first.
I was really eager to read this book right away, and that is because of my utter lack of knowledge regarding Qatar.
Additionally, the author, Sophia Al-Maria was actually born in Washington state, as was I, and we are both about the same age, which intrigued me. Of course, we have both led quite different lives!
The book is considered a memoir, but it reads much more like a novel. Entrancing and magical, at points this memoir even felt like a fairy tale. Al-Maria did such an excellent job taping into her own adolescent psyche, her teen years were described with such accuracy I was simply amazed. I felt a rush of nostalgia as I read these sections.
I will never know what it’s like to live in two different worlds and to not feel as though I fully belong to either of them, but with Al-Maria’s memoir I was able to at least have glimpse of what that may be like. Since Al-Maria is American, she wrote about the Bedouin and nomadic lifestyles in a way that was a bit more accessible for a foreign reader. I don’t have a problem with other novels not being written with foreign readers in mind, after all, it’s not an author’s job to break everything down for the reader. If you don’t understand something, you can do a little research! However, I will say it is nice to occasionally read a book like this, one that helps the reader a long a bit more. I especially appreciated Al-Maria’s ability to make the reader understand what it is like to straddle two worlds–she is Sofia in America but Safiya in the Arab world.
Next stop: Kuwait.