Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Hayaat lives with her mother, father, sister, brother, and grandmother in a small apartment in Bethlehem. Her parents and grandmother remember their land and homes in what is now Israel and mourn for their lives before they had to leave. Hayaat doesn't remember living anywhere else but she is angry at the Israelis who now guard their land and control things such as when she can and can't leave her home. After her grandmother is taken to the hospital Hayaat is convinced that she can help by bringing her grandmother some soil from her old home. The problem is that although the home is only a few miles away, it is controlled by the Israelis and it is illegal for her to go there. With the help of her friend Samy she believes she can sneak over the wall into Jerusalem and bring the dirt back. This book shows the perspective of a Palestinian which is not common in literature but it comes across as biased in its presentation of who is to blame for the problems in this part of the world. Also, if you are not familiar with the background of this region it could be confusing to try to figure out where Hayaat is going and why it is so difficult to get there.

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