Book Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

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About:
The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti is a debut novel by this accomplished woman. The novel looks at the Middle East problems through a pro-Palestinian point of view.

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book to two (2) winnersto enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post.

  • 352 pages
  • Publisher: Garnet Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859643299

Book Review The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti My rating for The Almond Tree – 3

Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format

Thoughts:
The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti (website) is a sad book with lots of descriptive violence which starts early on until the very end. It seems to me that the author was trying hard to create a tear jerker.

While the subject matter of the book is for adults, the writing seemed to be targeting the YA crowd or middle school children. Not that the writing is bad, just simplistic with a few math problems thrown in for good measure (the protagonist is a mathematical genius).

I tried to read the novel with an open mind, but towards the end, the heavy handed bias of the book simply turned me off. The novel is written from the Palestinian perspective of the Middle East however I found it to be inaccurate and overly simplified. The Arabs are good and handsome (with one or two exceptions), the Israelis are bad and ugly (with one or two exceptions) and everyone who dares wears a uniform or associate themselves with a political organization is either a step below the Nazis or a terrorist (Peace activists and pro-Palestinian Jews  are, of course, excluded).

What I found especially bothersome is that the novel takes complex problems like Middle East conflicts and ignores information about why the problems exist. The author seems to want to compare the Palestinians to the European Jews during World War II but really there is no comparison, and if there is I was not convinced at all.

Ms. Corasanti dramatically describes the injustices the Palestinians are suffering such as the bombing of innocents in villages and treatments by the Israeli soldiers, but does not mention anything about suicide bombers who blow up buses and pizzerias. The one suicide bomber mentioned was kind enough to blow himself up as to not hurt innocent people (a good kid who became a suicide bomber in a few days, totally disregarding the months of work and brain washing it takes to get someone to agree to blow themselves up). The author goes into details about the mistreatment of innocent prisoners in Israeli jails but completely disregards Israeli prisoners who were dragged in the streets. She extols the virtues of the simple Palestine living and family values while completely ignoring honor killings, beheadings, abuse of women and more. Nowhere in the book will you find that the Palestinian leaders oppress the Palestinian people just as much, if not more, than the Israelis do.

Imagine writing a book about the causes of World War II completely ignoring the outcome of World War I and you get the picture.

A chunk of the book takes place in the Gaza strip where the author goes on and on describing the deplorable living conditions and how the Israelis make it worst every day. No mention of why Israel closed the areas (missiles, suicide bombs, weapon smuggling) or the billions of aid dollars that Arafat and his minions, as well as later administrations, siphoned off instead of investing them in infrastructure and business.

And, of course, no mention of Arafat’s refusal what basically was the best peace deal offered… to anyone… EVER!

The author states that she holds a MA in Middle Eastern Studies, the book does not reflect that.The  abuse of the Palestinians is presented without context. The population is oppressed but are not even partially responsible at all for the oppression. Extreme groups, both Palestinian and Jewish, who are responsible for much of the crisis are completely ignored and the Israelis are blamed from top to bottom.

What do most people want?
To end the week with their families safe and enough money to splurge on pizza and a beer.
The Israelis and Palestinians are not different in that regard, but the fringe elements – usually those on both sides who make money on the conflict – keep things heated.

Ms. Corassanti is a smart lady, she has a BA from Hebrew University, a MA from Harvard, and a law degree – and now she wrote a dangerous book.
Why dangerous?
Because the uneducated audience would take her word as the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
I have read books of this type before, but at the end there is always an appendix or an author’s note putting the story in historical or social context – this is not the case.

Overall I thought the book was good, but being hit over the head constantly with a biased view is simply not to my liking (even if it was agreeable to me). I prefer to be presented the facts and be able to make up my own mind. However, the book did give me much to think about and presented a story from a different view point.

Synopsis:
Ichmad Hamid was born in a small Palestinine village, but soon impresses those who know him with his sharp mind. On his 12th birthday Ichmad’s father is improsined, his home destroyed and possessions consficated.

Ichmad uses the only tools he has, a work ethic and a genius mind, to make a name for himself, receive equality and give and receive hope.

Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format

Give­away

  • Give­away ends: August 26, 2013

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • No PO Boxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: lomazowr@, cenya2@

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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