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Kiese Laymon
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Orson Scott Card
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The Almond Tree - Michelle Cohen Corasanti This book took me on a journey to Palestine as Ichmad and his family are forced to redefine their lives in a conflict ridden environment. The first chapter really tore my heart out. The writing was very powerful, and I will think about that scene often.
One of the major themes in this book was forgiveness. Ichmad had to learn how to forgive others for their hate and for their actions. He also learns to forgive himself for unwittingly setting awful events into motion. In his brother, we see what happens when the seeds of hate are planted and allowed to grow.

To say I enjoyed the book would not really be accurate. It was interesting. The writing was good, but the subject matter is very heavy. Don’t get me wrong, my favorite novels are often exactly like this. The only reason The Almond Tree got a 4 instead of a 5 is because of the pacing of the book. There was so much heartache back to back that it did not allow the reader to take a mental break from the despair. I think this novel would have benefitted from a few more pages dedicated to the happier events of Ichmad’s life. The reader didn’t get a chance to ‘fall in love’ with characters before they were harmed in some way. This speed ‘gut punching’ made me a bit numb to the story in places.

Overall, I am glad to have read this book (goodreads giveaway) and I would recommend it to anyone. If nothing else, it brings the Palestinian side of the conflict into focus.