The one major positive thing that I can say for this book is that it’s well-written. It’s well-researched, well-planned out, and makes a very large effort to be well-balanced.
This is the first book I’ve ever read that combines both the modern world and the world of the djinn. Books about supernatural beings have been popular for who knows how long, but I’ve never come across one that takes Islamic folklore as its basis. You know, aside from the movie of Aladdin. And I’ve read another of Wilson’s books, The Butterfly Mosque, but it’s non-fiction … so I knew that I liked her writing, but I wasn’t sure if I’d want to read a novel. Sometimes people don’t cross over very well, yanno?
This is really a very specific book for a very specific purpose – information on surviving the customs and etiquette in the UAE for newcomers to the country. So I’m going to keep my commentary short and sweet, hopefully helpful for people wondering if it’s a good choice for them while preparing, but not super detailed since, well, most people probably couldn’t care less about it if they aren’t planning to move or visit here!
Today, Mia over at Pragmatic Mom is offering up a list of books that tie in with the books and topics I’m talking about this month. Be sure to head on over and take a look at her selections for Top 10: Best Middle Eastern American Children’s Books. This post is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month. You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.
I’ve read a few YA books already about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, notably The Shepherd’s Granddaughter and Where the Streets Had A Name. Both of those, however, were written from the point of view of a Palestinian child; while The Book of Trees is also written from the point of view of a teenager, the narrator (Mia) is a bit of an outsider and an insider all at once (Canadian and Jewish), and not Palestinian. It’s because of her that character I wanted to read this book, thinking it would be nice to read about the conflict from a different perspective.