Book Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

When you start reading a book, the first few pages kind of give you an idea how the rest of the book is going to be and well the first few pages of The Almond Tree definitely told me that its going to be a book I am going to remember for a long time. 
Against a background torn from the pages of today’s headlines, The Almond Tree, by Michelle Cohen Corasanti, recasts the Palestinians in Israel and Gaza, a people frequently in the news, but often misrepresented and deeply misunderstood.  Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ahmed Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, jobs and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ahmed’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ahmed begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence and loss and discovers a new hope for the future.
As I mentioned, the book caught my attention as soon as I read the first few pages. The story begins with a tragedy…which is described in a manner that would break your heart and well prepare you for the rest of the story. The narration is so simple yet impactful and well the author definitely knows her way with words…I came across some very interesting one liners throughout the book.
The author has done a great job when it comes to character development. By the time you finish the first few chapters you already know each of the characters completely and you are able to relate to how they think, behaves and acts . And it not just Ahmed who gets all the attention in the  book, each character has their own space and story in the book.
Another positive aspect about this book that even though the author is trying to put forward the life and suffering of people of Palestine, she is never biased towards them and never paints the Israelis as the villains in this situation…they are shown as they are…humans…who have their own struggles and are just looking for ways to survive.  
overall, I loved this book. Everything is so believable and that’s why it leaves a huge impact on you. There are places in the story where I had to keep down the book because I was overwhelmed with emotions. Its one book you do have to read…just to realise that no matter how difficult your life is….there is much more pain in the world than you know….it makes you realise what you have and how should be grateful for it.
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