synopsis: a girl relates her experiences growing up between two cultures
setting: puyallup, wa; doha, qatar; and cairo, egypt in the late 1900s and early 2000s
what i liked: reading the author’s descriptions of her father’s nomadic childhood (their family is bedouin). i also identified with her experience living between cultures, since i am also mixed-race, although the cultural differences she has to reconcile are significantly greater than mine.
what i would have liked more of: reflection. the author tells you her story and her parents’, but there’s not a whole lot of exploration on how these cultures shaped her as a person and how she reconciled (and continues to reconcile) living in and between these two drastically different cultures.
what i could have done without: the author’s descriptions of her sexual curiosity. for me, it was too much information.
trigger warning: sexual harassment
final thoughts: I’m pretty sure it was anne bogel who said in her podcast that memoir is hard to read when it’s from somebody who’s not already well-known, since as readers we begin reading while wondering why we even should be, and so the memoirist not only had to tell their story but also simultaneously prove why their story is compelling enough to be read. this book really illustrated that tension for me. i really wanted to be interested in al-maria’s story and enjoy this book, but because she didn’t dive more deeply into how these experiences affected her, wasn’t able to do that.