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My husband and I listened to the audio book form of this gripping, true story on a trip to Virginia. Listening to it made the time fly. The treatment of Zeitoun and his family during the terrible Hurricane Katrina aftermath was outrageous! Most of the inept responses to this tragic storm were made by FEMA. What they did to this poor man was absolutely unbelievable! A gripping account.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
I am not certain how I happened to decided to download this book on to my Kindle to read a sample chapter. But I was hooked once I read the chapter.
I did not realize initially that this was a true story about a man born in Syria, Abdulrahman Zeitoun who moved to New Orleans. He marries a southern woman Kathy, who is much younger than he and they have children. Together, they develop a successful painting and construction company. Zeitoun does the work and Kathy keeps the business end of it. He paints his construction truck with a rainbow on it, not realizing the significance of the rainbow sign for gay and lesbians in the US. Once informed he says, “if someone has a problem with the rainbow design, they would have a problem with him being a Muslim”.
As Hurricane Katrina moves into New Orleans, his wife and his children leave to go to her relatives in Louisiana and then to Arizona. Despite the pleas of his wife, he will not leave with them. Initially, he stayed to take care of his home and rental properties. But as the flooding increases he takes care of senior citizens, animals and others. The book tells about his struggles because of the flooding and his experiences, including being jailed and given pork to eat, which was against his religion.
I found the book to be insightful about the Katrina floods, the lack of real government intervention to help people, and the general chaos that surrounded the people, mainly poor and black
This book is important, yet has been largely overlooked by reviewers and book clubs. It's not just a history of Hurricane Katrina, but a personal account of the storm and its aftermath. More significantly, it spotlights our country's emergency response plan and the bewildering policies that could affect any of us as a result of the next major disaster. In addition to its potential impact, it's a very engaging and compelling story by an intelligent and objective author.