Saturday, April 29, 2017

Review: How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden

Title: How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less
Author: Sarah Glidden
Year Published: 2010


Genre: Adult Non-Fiction (graphic novel)
Pages: 206
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)Israel

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money


Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Sarah Glidden is a progressive Jewish American twenty-something who is vocal about her criticism of Israeli politics in the Holy Land. When a debate with her mother prods her to sign up for a Birthright Israel tour, Glidden expects to find objective facts to support her strong opinions. What she gets, however, is a regimented schedule meant to showcase the best of Israel: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Masada, Kinneret, the Dead Sea, and other landmarks. Worried she may be falling prey to an agenda, Glidden seizes various opportunities to discuss the fraught complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But with self-effacing humor and reflection, Glidden realizes the opinion she is most surprised by may very well be her own.

Review: Another book blogger recommended Sarah Glidden's second graphic novel, Rolling Blackouts and when I went to the store to buy it, I found this one as well so I ended up getting both (big splurge).

I do enjoy graphic novels and the artwork in this one is realistic, in color, and very effective. I had the sense that I was on the trip with Glidden and that I was seeing what she saw when she was in Israel. Another reason I like graphic novels is that they are quick reads. Today is the Dewey Read-a-thon and I did a terrible job at participating. At least with this book I read a whole book in the 24 hours!

I think Glidden's experience, and book, are interesting. I know a couple people that have gone on birthright trips to Israel, but I haven't spoken to them about their experience. I think going as Glidden did, with serious questions about Israel's responsibility in the conflict, would be difficult and challenging. She definitely had preconceived notions that colored her time in Israel and all that she saw and heard. She was ready to be "brainwashed," which means she wasn't necessarily open to hearing the information that was presented to the group.

While I liked this book I felt like there was a lot of details; too much for me in fact. But, I am still looking forward to reading her second book about journalists in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq.

Challenges for which this counts:

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