Friday, February 18, 2011

M3: Son of Hamas, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and The Glass Castle

 M1: Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices by Masab Yousef. An excellent book. Yousef is eldest son of one of the founders of Hamas, a Muslim and a prince of his people, but became an undercover agent for Biet Shen (The Israeli Police) and even more astounding, a Christian. His account IS Gripping and explains Palestinian politics through the eyes of a native. He explains that Hamas is not an organization as most people understand organizations, "with rules and hierarchy. It was a ghost, an idea. You can't destroy an idea; you can only stimulate it." The war on terror is being fought against an idea. That's gonna be a hard one to win.

Yousef becomes an Israeli informant to learn all that he can about the Israeli's in order to hurt them from the inside. He grows to respect and appreciate the work that they are doing while at the same time becoming disillusioned with the various factions of his own people and the violence, destruction and inconsistencies of Hamas and Islam. Eventually he becomes a Christian by reading the Bible and joining a group of Christians for study and fellowship. It's a beautiful testimony of how his conversion shapes and formed his politics and eventually his hopes and dreams for the future.
"I had money, power and position in my former life, but what I really wanted was freedom. And that meant, among other things, leaving behind, hate, prejudice and a desire for revenge. The message of Jesus- love your enemies- is what finally set me free. It no longer mattered who my friends were or who my enemies were; I was supposed to love them all. And I could have a loving relationship with a God who would help me love others."

My understanding of the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict was broadened by this book and my faith strengthened. Yousef is a mighty man of God, willing to live his faith out loud, though he loses it all. You can follow Yousef at Son of Hamas.

Mennonite in a Little Black DressThis chick is funny. She is also crude and rude. Her MEmoir was a showcase for her writing with little theme. She mocks her parents throughout and in the end, for the "thank-yous" claims her Mom is her "hero." At which I shudder. I hope that if anyone ever claims me as their "hero" they actually have some respect and appreciation for what my life stands for other than for what I do for them. This book is basically a justification for Janzen's sabbatical, justifying her poor choices and some horrible circumstances, lack of faith and her willingness to condescend towards the people and faith that she was raised with.
Another gifted communicator with nothing much to say.

The Glass Castle. For the life of me I cannot figure out why this wasn't required reading for my Marriage and Family Therapy program. It might just as well have been titled: "Scr*wing Up Your Life & Kids: Everything to do Wrong." If you've ever felt sorry about the way you were raised and thought your parents didn't do enough, this book will give you some perspective.  Walls recounts abuse, neglect, abject poverty, (though her parents were wealthy) eccentricity, harrowing escapes and escapades of all sorts.Her parents are incredibly intelligent but suffer from various maladies ranging from mental illness to alcoholism. A fascinating but depressing read. For an interview with the author go here.

What did you read this week?


dawn said...

I, also, disliked Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. You explained why, better, though ... a talented writer with little to say.

Julie said...

Visiting from 52 Books. Great reviews and I enjoyed looking around your site. :)

Fairy Tale Mama said...

I actually read and liked both Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and The Glass Castle. I completely understand where you're coming from, but I just overlooked the flaws and focused on what I liked. I will never forget the part at the beginning of The Glass Castle when she cooks the hot dogs and lights her dress on fire. That scene really made an impact on me. Thanks for sharing your reviews!

chereemoore said...

Son of Hamas sounds very intriguing. The Glass Castle is a fascinating book. You are right about the need to read this book if you are ever having a pity-party about your upbringing.

Hen Jen said...

I read the Mennonite in a little black dress- and felt pretty much like you did, it wasn't one I would recommend to a friend. I wanted to like it, she was pretty funny at times..but..but..

I keep meaning to read the glass castle, kind of like an accident you can't help looking at, but you feel like you should look away.

I'm reading a yoga chick lit right now, fun, light..was about to jump back into the Jane Austin mysteries, but my bookstore didn't have the next one.. I want to read "the happiness project" also, but my bookstore had it in hardback, I'm going to check the library first, my book habits get expensive :)