From Publishers Weekly
Glidden, a progressive American Jew who is sharply critical of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Occupied Territories, went on an all-expense-paid "birthright" trip to Israel in an attempt to discover some grand truths at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This graphic memoir tells the touching and often funny story of her utter failure to do so. As the tour group moves from the Golan Heights to Tel Aviv, Glidden's struggles with propaganda and perspective lead only to a morass of deepening questions and self-doubt. Her neurotic need for objective truths and struggle to reconcile historical perspectives is hugely gratifying for the reader. This is especially true when the group visits Masada, the site of an epic confrontation between a sect of Jewish rebels and a Roman siege army that culminated in mass suicide. Gruesome fanaticism or a stirring clarion call for the burgeoning Zionism movement? You be the judge. As befits a travelogue, Glidden's drawings have the look of something jotted down on the fly; if it weren't for a haircut here or a pair of glasses there, many of the characters would be indistinguishable. Yet the simplicity of the drawing is offset by bright, delicate watercolors that belie our heroine's unresolved struggle with history and heritage.
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up–After years of questioning her heritage, arguing with her mother about what it means to be Jewish, and dating a “goy,” Glidden succumbed to the lure of an all-expense-paid trip to Israel through Birthright, a program that offers Jewish young adults first-time trips to the country. At the onset, she declared, “I'm ready to go there and discover the truth behind this whole mess once and for all. It will be crystal clear by the time I come back.” An experienced traveler and a skeptic, she details her two-month excursion through cities and deserts. Readers witness her personal conflict as she seeks to view Israel with an objective eye. One effective literary device is the use of illustrated flashbacks from both Glidden's and Israel's past. The ghosts of David Ben Gurion and Sarah's deceased younger brother accompany her for several panels during her journey. She encounters the worldview of non-Eastern European Jews, Israeli soldiers, and her traveling companions, and begins to realize her limited perspective as she wonders “how many other people on the trip I've completely misjudged.” The author's inner voices as she struggles with her conflicting emotions are brilliantly portrayed during brief trials in “the court of birthright vs. brainwash,” where she serves as the prosecutor, defense, and judge. The tongue-in-cheek title hints at both the subtle humor and the complex subject matter. Glidden's soft, watercolor palette and realistic art complement without overshadowing this thoughtful exploration of the role that cultural heritage plays in the search for personal identity.–Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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