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Lola T. (Broken Arrow, OK)
A Girl Made of Dust
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Written from the viewpoint of a very young girl, this book is by no means a children's fiction book, but a look at conflict in Lebanon through the eyes of an innocent. This lens is at once frustrating (your grown-up brain wants this child to wise up!) and effective in evoking a feeling for this war-torn area of the world. The author is quite skilled in evoking the sounds of bombs, the tastes of the food, the heat, the beauty of flowers (roses, especially), the dust and the fear. For an unusual and very personal view of the war and the confusing political and religious divisions, I would say take a chance and read this book. It is not lengthy and you will come away with understanding as only a child give.
Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)
I was reminded of To Kill a Mockingbird while reading this novel. This is a child's view of her world and its day to day perplexities surrounded by a larger world of horrific events which intrude ever more painfully. Told in a deceptively simple style, the narrative draws in the reader with glimpses of family secrets waiting to be revealed.
Phoebe B. (Sacramento, CA)
Tried for several weeks to finish this book but...
Could not get past the first 50 pages. I felt that it was perhaps intended for young adults. I did not feel compelled to finish after 50 pages and not feeling I was getting to any real point in the story. The characters were not becoming familiar to me as I feel they should have been in a compellingly crafted novel.
Rosario D. (South El Monte, CA)
A Girl Made of Dust
Based on what I read I think an average reading is more than generous.
The writing style is simple and straightforward. This is a captivating book that allows us to see war through a child's point-of-view. A really good read, highly recommend it.
Melissa M. (Ridegfield, CT)
A sensitive portrayal of heartbreaking Lebanese conflict
I wanted to read this book particularly because we have so few available novels in English that take place in and describe the recent Lebanese war years from a personal perspective and I wanted to know more about this period and country's cultural history from this aspect. I found the book sensitive to its subject, interesting, and meaningful.
Stephanie W. (Hudson, OH)
I wish I knew more
The characters are real, and sensitively drawn and their experiences poignant. It is hard to imagine that children of Ms Abi-Ezzi's generation who were born and grew up during these times, from 1974 onward only know of an existence within a country of constant political conflict. This novel gives us some insight into a child's experience, interpretation and understanding of a very complex world, still living in distressing circumstances. I would like to read more books on the subject from different perspectives.
A Girl Made of Dust was a very engaging story that kept me interested and wondering what was going to happen. The problem was that it sometimes also had me wondering what was happening! I am not familiar with the setting and had to ask my History Teacher husband to explain what was going on. Once I learned a little more about Israel and Lebanon in 1981-1982 I could follow the plot more easily. I wish the book had an introduction that contained some of this information. However, I very much enjoyed reading it and would recommend it as a book that gives insight into what it feels like to live in a war ravaged country. Book groups would find much to think about and discuss.
Lucy B. (Urbana, Ohio)
Children of War
I read a lot, all types of books, and belong to a local reader's book club sponsored by an independent book seller in a mid-western small town. I felt the author did a good job depicting the life of an eight-year-old who is living in a country at war and who is surrounded by a family with secrets that she does not fully understand. I feel we tend to forget that the lives of young people are very much affected by the war of adults.
Janne V. (Greenville, SC)
A sad but ultimately hopeful novel
A Girl Made of Dust is a very moving story about a young girl in the midst of a war that she doesnt understand. Told from her perspective, she is generally more concerned with the personal problems in her own family - her fathers withdrawal into himself because of something that is kept secret from her until late in the story, and the resulting tension between her parents and the increasing estrangement from her brother, whom she idealizes. The war gradually keeps getting closer and she is only then forced to truly acknowledge it, although she is as confused by the reasons for it as her family is.
The novel gives us an inside glimpse of the real effects of war on families, particularly children ,and it seems clear that the author has had some personal experience with this to describe it so vividly. It also shows us how easily it is for young boys to get swept up into the fighting and how their families might react to this. In many way, it is a poignant novel, but the author manages to finish the novel with a hopeful ending showing us how resilient young people can be. Overall, a memorable book that I wouldnt hesitate to recommend.