Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer would not have been able to imagine her life today: married to a Libyan-born Muslim, raising two children with Arabic names in the American South. Nor could she have imagined the prejudice she would encounter or the profound ways her marriage would change her perception of the world.
But on a running trail in North Carolina, she met Ismail. He was passionate and sincere - and he loved adventure as much as she did. From acquaintances to lovers to a couple facing an unexpected pregnancy, this is the story of two people - a middle-class American raised in California and a Muslim raised by illiterate parents in an impoverished Libyan fishing village - who made a commitment to each other without forsaking their own identities.
It is the story of a bicultural marriage - and aren't all marriages bicultural? In any marriage, we might discover that our mate is foreign to us, with very different language, memories, and assumptions about home and family. How we respond to difference is what shapes our families, our communities, and our world.
©2014 Original material Krista Bremer. Recorded by arrangement with Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2014 HighBridge Company
"Readers of memoir will welcome this love story about patience and kindness and learning the importance of putting culture first." (Library Journal)
I enjoyed this book. In many ways, it's the story of any marriage, with its unmet expectations and petty frustrations and rougher edges, with its passions and joys and moments of companionable presence.
And yet, it's different due to the very different cultures from which both parties grew up.
In some ways, the author annoyed me with her pettiness, with her unwillingness to learn to speak Arabic with her husband's family, with her making bigger issues out of little ones. And yet, she has a way of self-reflection that allows me to understand her, to even empathize with her, to understand her hopes and fears for her marriage and her husband and her children.
It's well worth your time and credit if you're at all interested in multi-cultural relationships.
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