Received a copy of The Almond Tree By Michelle Cohen Corasanti through the First Reads Giveaway
This is a powerful coming-of-age story of Ichmad Hamid at one point a boy, but due to regional strife is forced into manhood. At first he is apprehensive in assuming this responsibility, but when the lives of his family and his own survival are at stake, for him their is no other duty in this world that would give him as much pleasure. Think of him as a superhero where mathematics and sciences are his strength but his heart and will are his superpowers. This is a story of the realization of the power of politics and the cruelty in the world through racism, violence, war and the satisfying of community and familial standards.
Israelis are working to erase the history and eradicate the people of Palestine. Inch by inch, one by one until the point all their land is occupied by Israel and all of their people are gone. This story is also a commentary on how national conflict breeds varying feelings and beliefs within one family and how hope will dictate their destiny. Being a member of one of the lesser known oppressed people in history, how can Palestinian people bear any understanding for the reasoning of their oppressors? Ichmad bandies these thoughts in head while his brother Abbas takes heed of his own experiences and decides on less complicated route by hating, profiling, and espousing prejudicial sentiments while plotting his future. While reading you understand Abbas reason for hate but it is hard to understand the depths at which it lies and the control it can have. While Ichmad follows his heart and serves beyond the realm of his own probabilities, Abbas succumbs to the expectations of his enemy and lives his life in a vengeful state of mind with little to stand in his way.
The story also reveals of how you don't find love, love finds you. The finding of love can seemingly come in all the wrong places at the wrong times. All the while the ones your forced to love or supposed to love can initially be the ones you don't want to but rather have to due to religious covenants. Can love be learned? Can appreciation be garnered? Can love conquer all? Or is love only conceived at first sight?
Thank you Nora for insisting that Ichmad Hamid promise to you to tell his story for the world should be grateful. Thank you Michelle Cohen Corasanti for being the literary architect that authorized this cultural revelation and made it come to actuality.
While I am writing this review and prior to reading The Almond Tree I just finished Critical Mass By Sara Paretsky which I won in another First Reads Giveaway. What I found interesting, well for anyone that read The Almond Tree for that matter, was that both books and main characters have a love for physics as well as the work performed by noted physicist Richard Feynman. In the book Martin said that despite his death Feynman's work made him immortal. Martin and Ichmad seemed to me like kindred spirits from opposite sides of the world. That to me is the beauty of science and mathematics as it transcends racial tensions and is never lost in translation. If you are interested in mysteries, physics, or young scholars I recommend that book as well.