Thursday, March 1, 2018

Review: Algeria Is Beautiful Like America

Algeria Is Beautiful Like America Algeria Is Beautiful Like America by Olivia Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher summary:

Olivia had always heard stories about Algeria from her maternal grandmother, a Black Foot (a “Pied-Noir,” the French term for Christian and Jewish settlers of French Algeria who emigrated to France after the Algerian War of Independence). After her grandmother’s death, Olivia found some of her grandmother’s journals and letters describing her homeland. Now, ten years later, she resolves to travel to Algeria and experience the country for herself; she arrives alone, with her grandmother’s postcards and letters in tow, and with but a single phone number in her pocket, of an Algerian Djaffar, who will act as her guide. Olivia’s quest to understand her origins will bring her to face questions about heritage, history, shame, friendship, memory, nostalgia, fantasy, the nature of exile, and our unending quest to understand who we are and where we come from.
This was a lovely quick read that takes an honest look at the difficulties of a spotted family history, an exploration of what "home" means and if you can find one you never knew, the differences between nostalgia places and real spaces, and a bit of a love story to a landscape that is not frequently celebrated in western culture - the Algerian landscape. I came away feeling like I knew more about certain periods in Algerian history, and the appeal of the place.

Also this counts for the 2018 Reading Women Challenge: graphic novel or memoir (by a woman, obviously.)

Thanks to the publisher for approving my request through Edelweiss. I read it earlier than I meant to, because I was really interested in the experience! It comes out April 24, 2018.

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