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Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries Paperback – September 19, 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Amiry's parents were among the thousands of Palestinians who fled from their homes in 1948; they went to Amman, Jordan, where the author was brought up before attending the American University in Beirut to study architecture. She returned to Ramallah as a tourist in 1981, but then she met Salim Tamari, fell in love, married him and returned to the city, now heavily occupied by Israeli troops. This book is an attempt to illustrate the life of a middle-class, Westernized woman in an occupied territory: the daily anxieties and struggles with curfews, roadblocks, barricades, body searches, gunfire, endless red tape, discourtesy and general harassment;not to mention the less than peaceful presence of a mother-in-law taken in for safety's sake. The account, often surprisingly good-humored (as when Amiry realizes her dog has a Jerusalem passport though she does not), is vivid but somewhat sketchily based on diaries and e-mails; it gains in immediacy and relevance to current newspaper accounts what it may lack in comprehensiveness. The book was awarded Italy's Viareggio Virsilia Prize, and while the writing is unremarkable, the work serves as an important report from the front. (Oct. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "It was a Palestinian version of The Bold and the Beautiful." Drawing on her personal diary entries and e-mails, Amiry, an architect living in the West Bank town of Ramallah, captures the farce and sorrow of daily life under Israeli occupation over the last 20 years. Some readers may remember her furious appearance on 60 Minutes in 2003 ("No, this stupid wall has nothing to do with Israel's security. . . .This is the biggest land and water grab in the history of Israel"). But her book is no political tirade. She is laugh-out-loud funny about the soap-opera aspects of daily life in Ramallah. Even as she copes with her teen neighbor and collaborator, she has fun with the kitsch electric Mecca gift he gives her: Is it bugged? Is she paranoid? Then there is her mother-in-law, 91, who moves in after losing all electricity and water in her neighborhood ("Shall I pack my purple dress?" she wonders). The irreverence brings home the bureaucratic absurdity of checkpoints, curfews, barriers, and IDs ("Palestinians from Jerusalem who are Israeli residents but not Israeli citizens with Israeli travel documents"). But the suffering is always there: the reality of displacement, neighborhoods destroyed, interminable lines, shootings, separation, and loss. A prizewinner in Italy, this will reach a wide audience. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400096499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400096497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Bisharat on November 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In this wonderfully witty narrative, Amiry reveals herself to be a gifted storyteller. I alternated between laughing and crying as I read the vignettes surrounding her daily life in Ramallah. These range from suffering under curfew alone with her mother-in-law, to rattling Israeli soldiers with a disarming stare, to attending a fundraiser featuring campy Palestinian items in order to bail out a friend who had been thrown in jail on false charges. Amiry brings to life the day-to-day human experience of living under occupation. In doing so, she makes a significant contribution to both literature and to our understanding of the Palestinian condition.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is amazing when one can read a book and feel as if one is living it. I almost wanted to be imprisoned in my house for 14 consecutive days to know how it feels to be living under curfew and military occupation. Just didn't want the mother in law to be part of this deal!

The book very casually shows that Palestinians will never go away. They are here to stay no matter how many walls, checkpoints, raids, and dehumanizing Palestinians suffer under the Israeli military occupation and the world's deaf ear and blind eyes.

So grow up Sharon, get a life, and make real peace.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish I could give this book to everyone who denies the horrors of the Israeli occupation. A wonderful book, funny and moving, that shows the humanity of the too-often dehumanized Palestinian people.
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Format: Hardcover
Suad Amiry's book is very witty and easy to read. The book is based on a compilation of emails, letters and Amiry's recollection of the various events. Amiry offers a portrayal of life of a relatively well off Palestinian family under Israeli occupation. The Israeli occupation and the siege of their city feature prominently in the book but almost as natural disasters or "Act of God" ..so they are there thrown into the mix making ordinary complex life even more complicated. The politics of the occupation are touched upon but clearly what is central is just the day to day life.

The title of the book is very much a reflection of the light hearted style of the book but also of the very menacing undertones. In the United States Sharon largely has(d) the reputation of being a tough minded and determined leader and with the Gaza withdrawal in 2005 as a peacemaker; whereas in most of the world outside of the US Sharon is seen as a ruthless cruel man responsible for the death and destruction of many who was sanctioned by his own country and was even wanted for trial on war crime charges in Europe. For the Palestinians I imagine Sharon had simply been a brutal merciless monster; the title Sharon & My Mother in Law with that background is therefore very ironic! A daughter - mother in law relationship in a middle eastern environment is never straight forward ..the very words mother in law carry a whole world of conations. The very title of the book comes across funny to any Middle Eastern; equating or even putting Sharon & mother in law in the same sentence carries with the wit and the determination that comes across in Amiry's words.

Many reviewers of this book talked about the book illustrating the humanity of the Palestinians, I doubt if that has been on Amiry's mind; for those who doubt the humanity of the Palestinians better read John Grisham or watch Pirates of the Caribbean; this book celebrates the humanity of the Palestinians and the triumph of their spirit.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved to read this book could not put it down. I enjoyed it very much, I visualized being in the scene with this author, very honest and vivid experience for someone living under occupation. I remembered myself living in Palestine Jerusalem and undergoing experienced that made me reflect upon my growing up under occupation for 2 years. If was very hard for me but for her it was much worst for the author and she actually made it seem in a sarcastic way. I recommend this book so much
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Format: Paperback
I read this book within a day, I just couldn't put it down, it was so beautifully written, and so easy to read.
Suad Amiry has a remarkable ability to say in one sentence what other writers take three pages over. A single sentence can be so thought-provoking, you consider all the many implications that follow from just one statement.
Despite the misery of her situation, Suad's defiance of her occupiers is hilarious - what a courageous and spunky woman! Her frankness and honesty of her own feelings, including her failings, are also very impressive.
Well done to Suad Amiry, I eagerly look forward to her next book - I hope she will write one!
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By mary murphy on February 27, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Diary format made the story disjointed. All the names so hard to follow .Ended abruptly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was fascinated of the glimpses of life on the West Bank but left wanting more. Sad Amiry's experiences have the potential to make a terrific book but we need a fleshed out background of her life, family, and work experiences to make the picture feel whole. To the reviewers that are dismissive of her point of view - it is only through reading perspectives from all sides of a conflict that we begin to gain understanding.
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