Saturday, September 08, 2007

the Attack

It's obvious from previous reviews that I read a lot of youth and young adult fiction. I enjoy it a great deal, but I also recognize that to an adult, it's a bit like eating candy for every meal. YA fiction is quick and easy to read. This doesn't mean it isn't thought provoking. Many books for youth address difficult or compelling subjects, but they still usually mean a quicker and simpler read for me. Sometimes I make myself read an adult book like we adults make ourselves eat vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I do like many vegetables, but there are times when I eat vegetables just because I know I should. Similarly, I enjoy adult books, I just sometimes am too wrapped up in my YA books to think about them.

I catalogued The Attack more than a year ago. I browse the jackets of most books that cross my desk, and this one's compelling summary haunted me until I finally sought out and read the book. Dr. Amin Jaafari, a Beduin Arab who has become a naturalized Israeli in Tel Aviv, is a respected doctor living in an affluent neighbourhood with his beautiful wife. One night, a terrorist's bomb tears apart a nearby cafe, and he labours intensely to save and repair the brutalized bodies. When he has worked beyond the point of exhaustion, he receives the news that rocks his world just as potently as the bomb rocked the cafe: his wife is among the dead, and the injuries she sustained suggest that she herself was the suicide bomber.

The Attack takes the reader vividly inside the Isreal-Palestine conflict, introducing the reader to the society on both sides of the violent disagreement. Readers participate vividly in the doctor's trauma, horror, and grief. The book poignantly questions how some can live a life of privilege and happiness while others must experience humiliation, horror, and violence.

(crossposted to itbit)

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