Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: The Almond Tree

A few months ago I won a Goodreads First Reads giveaway for the book, "The Almond Tree" by Michelle Cohen Corasanti.  This book was absolutely spectacular; I'm not usually so impressed with a book, but this was was a superbly written story. It follows the life, from boyhood to old age, of an intellectually gifted Palestinian man, Ahmed Hamid.
The Almond Tree on goodreads.com


The plot and action of this book are absolutely intriguing and page-turning, but not in a "thriller" type of way. The characters are so real and compelling that I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to know what happened next.  For me the subject matter is particularly interesting because of the current day conflict between Palestine/Israel.  The story really humanizes all of the struggles and conflicts that region has had in the past 60 years and presents it in a fairly unbiased way.  Although this is a fictional story, it is clear that the author knew and researched the subject extremely well.  Her writing style is clear and descriptive.  At times, I felt like I was sweating under the summer sun with Ahmed and his brothers as they worked dangerous construction jobs to support their family. I could easily imagine that I was in the dorms and classrooms with Ahmed when he finally was able to go away to college.   For the most part, I could easily believe that all of the events in "The Almond Tree" were possible.  There were only a few parts that seemed a bit far-fetched, making this a truly great piece of writing.

I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  It is one of the best books I have read this year.  I would rate it 4.75/5.