"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Review and quotes: THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Book Beginnings quote:

Friday56 quote, from page 21 near last page of sample:

Summary: Nuri is a beekeeper, his wife, Afra, is an artist. They live a happy, simple life in Aleppo, Syria. Mustafa is Nuri's cousin, the man who first got Nuri involved in beekeeping in the first place.  When civil war comes to Aleppo neither man wants to leave the area, first because of the bees and later because of what happens to both of their sons. Eventually both families are forced to flee from Aleppo in fear of losing their lives. Leaving Syria wasn't easy and involved many, many treacherous and horrifying situations. "As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again." 

Review: The Syrian refugee crisis began in March of 2011 when civil war started in the country. Since that time 13 million Syrians, half the population of the country, have been displaced. 6.5 million left Syria and the other half were displaced within Syria. This huge number of refugees have placed a strain on surrounding countries and humanitarian organizations. I remember hearing stories of refugees so desperate they were willing to get into tiny little boats to escape to Europe. Many drowned. What the Beekeeper of Aleppo did for me was put one story into focus for me, so I could look at the problems all refugees encountered but on a micro level. Nuri and Afra were traumatized by what happened to them in Syria and then they were continually traumatized by their experiences along the way. They were forced to participate in activities they would never even have considered in their other life. My eyes were opened with more compassion and empathy than I had when I first started the story.

My husband and I listened to almost the whole audiobook on one long day of driving. By the time we got home we had less than an hour of listening left to go to the end. When I suggested that we finish the book the next day, Don agreed immediately saying for once he felt very invested in the story and wanted to know how it resolved. This is unusual for him so it speaks to power of this author to tell an important story in a way that speaks to our hearts. Christy Lefteri, the author, was a humanitarian worker in Greece at one point when the Syrian refugee crisis was at its peak. She felt compelled to tell the story of what happens to these refugees when they land in a country already overwhelmed by the sheer number of others escaping the war in their own country. She included many unsavory aspects my mind had never considered before such as the criminal activities that get set up to smuggle and move these people around and how cruel most immigration policies are. It was a lot to take in but well worth the effort. I highly recommend this book. It will generate a thoughtful discussion, no doubt, in our upcoming book club meeting.

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