Teaching Arabs, Writing Self: Memoirs of an Arab-American by Evelyn Shakir

By Evelyn Shakir

Evelyn Shakir’s witty, clever, and fantastically written memoir explores her prestige as an Arab American girl, from the sophisticated bigotry she confronted in Massachusetts as a second-generation Lebanese whose mom and dad weren't in basic terms international yet eccentric, to the both poignant combination of dislocation and homecoming she felt in Bahrain, Syria, and Lebanon, the place she taught American literature to college students.

In the USA, becoming up within the Fifties and ‘60s, her international encompassed Boston’s Revere seashore (her uncle ran the well-known Cyclone roller-coaster) and the area of academia (she has levels from Wellesley, Harvard, and Boston collage and was once provided a couple of Fulbrights). She easily combines own anecdote with cultural, political, and ancient history, and is incapable of stereotyped considering: one of many book’s many pleasures is the range she reveals one of the humans she encounters within the heart East, together with not just scholars, yet cab drivers, storekeepers, and the blokes who make the spinach pies on the bakery down the road from her apartment.

Perhaps better of all, Shakir is enjoyable to read—and humorous! Her stories of the family’s satisfaction within the Cyclone (“the brawniest journey at the beach”) are helpful, as are her astute observations on her travels (Victoria’s mystery sells good in Damascus). Relentlessly sincere, occasionally difficult on humans (and on herself), she constantly manages to discover the humanity all of us have in common.

As Shakir explores her personal identification, she leads the reader to an appreciation of the richness and complexity of being Arab American (or any combined background) in an more and more small world.

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