Disclaimer: This book was sent to me free of charge (from the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from the publisher)
Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in constant fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other.
On Ichmad’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ichmad begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence, and discovers a new hope for the future.
Shortly after accepting a request to review The Almond Tree I got given it as a suggestion by amazon, I think that shows how well suited to my tastes it was.
I had planned to start it as soon as I had finished by kindle read at the time, Painter of Silence, but decided on finishing that something lighter would be more suitable, and I’m glad I decided on that. Both books were rather emotionally difficult and, whilst I like books you can get emotional about, I think I would have found two on the trot a bit much. I might not have got so much out of The Almond Tree had I read it straight away.
What can I say? It was beautiful. Tragic, sad, emotional, yet hopeful. I felt angry, I felt disgusted. Something with fiction is that it can effect you emotionally in a way that non-fiction can’t. You can read as much as you want about the Middle-East Conflict, but, even if there are personal profiles, you can’t get right into a person’s head. You can’t live their life, you can see and feel what they see and feel.
But with The Almond Tree I felt like I really knew Ichmad. I emphasised with him. I could imagine what it might be like to live in an area on constant tension and conflict. To live in fear for yourself and your family. To have little or no freedom, and to know that any one little thing could bring your life crashing down.
Even though Ichmad was only 12 when his father was arrested he showed great resilience and maturity. He knew that he had to look after his family, and did everything he could to achieve that. He never gave up, even when voices were against him he did what he thought was right- with the advice of his father.
The challenges changed as Ichmad got older, but he always had his family at the forefront of his mind, and I respected him for that.
You can currently win The Almond Tree on Goodreads.