Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: "Hope Street, Jerusalem" by Irris Makler

Hope Street, Jerusalem Irris Makler
Published: February 25, 2014
ISBN: 0732294169
Genre: Memoir
Source: TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

′I had no idea how demanding this consuming, cruel, dangerous and fascinating place would be. I would fall in love here, I would do some of my best reporting, I would be injured, ending my run of good luck - my life would change dramatically ...′ Moving to a strange city always takes courage, but never more so than in a place where the daily expression of love and hate can turn a simple choice of a romantic table by the window into a life or death decision. Both a love story and bittersweet tribute to her beloved adopted city of Jerusalem, Irris Makler shines a hopeful light on a part of the world where the news reports often makes it seem impossibly dark. From juggling the danger and unpredictability of her work as a roving foreign correspondent , covering everything from Palestinian suicide attacks to Israeli incursions into the West Bank, to falling in love with a handsome and charming young Israeli, and gaining a mischievious four-legged companion along the way, she allows us an intimate glimpse into a passionate, vibrant and fascinating world. Adventurous, compassionate and engagingly honest, the award-winning author of OUR WOMAN IN KABUL is a master at capturing the personal stories behind the news we really want to know - and her story is the most interesting of all.

My Thoughts:
I've always been fascinated with Jerusalem--I'd love to visit someday, although I do not foresee myself getting there in the near future.  When this book, written by journalist about her life in Jerusalem, came by me, I knew I had to read it.

I don't think that anyone who is not from the area can truly understand the situation in that part of the world.  Makler, however, does a good job of illustrating her experience as an Australian ex-pat journalist living there.  She talks about the conflicts that she witnesses and reports on in a way that does not read like a newspaper article or a reporter reading off a teleprompter.  She does not bring any bias into her narrative--although she is of Jewish decent, she treats both sides with respect and without favoritism.

But, this book is really about something else.  It's about a woman and her dog.  She and her boyfriend (well, more her boyfriend at the beginning) take on a stray puppy.  Makler's relationship with Mia (the dog) has a rocky start but, by the end of the book, they are soul mates.  I'll be honest, I can't resist a good animal story and this one does not disappoint.

There is also the story of Makler and her Israeli boyfriend, Raphael.  Raphael is an musician and film mmaker who is quite a bit younger than Makler.  Their relationship is rocky and full of struggles and passions.  But, I just wasn't as invested in that part of Makler's narrative.  For me, Raphael was the channel that brought Mia into Makler's life.

This wasn't a perfect memoir.  One thing that irked me is that the timing was a bit off.  As I was reading, I was under the impression that a few years had passed, and then Makler would make a comment that only a few months had passed.  I'm not exactly sure how Makler could have fixed this, but I do wish that I felt this book was more anchored in time.

All in all, however, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to someone who has an interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Or in dogs.  Or both.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

Want a second opinion?  Please visit some of the other stops on this tour (links go to the blog, not the specific review):

Tuesday, February 25th: Kelly’s [Former] France Blog
Wednesday, February 26th: WildmooBooks
Thursday, February 27th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Tuesday, March 4th: Every Free Chance Book Reviews
Thursday, March 6th: My Bookshelf
Monday, March 10th: Lisa’s Yarns
Thursday, March 13th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, March 14th: The Book Wheel
Wednesday, March 19th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Hope Street, Jerusalem
by Makler Irris

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