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HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS by Sarah Glidden

HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS

By Sarah Glidden

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4012-2233-8
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics

This graphic memoir, the author’s book-length debut, relates her eye-opening visit to Israel.

Before embarking on her “birthright” tour of Israel, Glidden explained to her non-Jewish boyfriend that “I’m ready to go there and discover the truth behind this whole mess once and for all. It’ll all be crystal clear by the time I come back!” The narrative sustains that spirit of self-deprecating innocence throughout, making Glidden an effective guide through the trouble spots of the Middle East, though inevitably she returns home with more questions than answers, more ambivalence than assurance. Anticipating propaganda that would attempt to counter what she terms her “left-wing and progressive,” pro-Palestinian sympathies, she met Israelis who shared some of her reservations and discovered that people whom she liked could have conflicting opinions on complex issues. “We ask only one thing of you and that is not to be pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, but to be pro-peace,” she heard at a speakers’ panel of Jews and Muslims who had both lost loved ones to the conflict. By the end of her two-month tour, she realizes that peace in the Middle East is the ultimate goal, but that achieving it will be a very challenging process. She attempts some inventive narrative techniques, but the author would have to show more insight or more of an edge to give readers more than they already know.

A primer for those who aren’t aware of the complexity of issues and emotions underlying this seemingly interminable strife.