Book Review: A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

Book: A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

Published January 2018 by Philomel Books|288 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

I liked A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes!  Not as much as A Secret Sky, but I still liked it.

There’s a lot I don’t know in terms of what it’s like to be a refugee, particularly one from the Middle East.  In this book, we see what Tareq has to go through, and how he’s treated by others simply because of where he’s from.  People seem to make assumptions about him because of that, and because of how he looks.  I can’t imagine knowing what it’s like to always say goodbye to people you know and love, or to the place that you once called home.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around seeing the place I call home because so different that you have to leave and hope that another country will take you in.

I did like seeing how people react to refugees, and while it was a familiar reaction, it still made me sad that some people are so distrusting of refugees.  While we see what led Tareq and his family to leave Syria,  I still wish we saw a little more of it.  I mean, I know it’s on the news, and what we see at the beginning of the novel is horrifying, there’s still part of me that wanted more of their life before things got so bad that they had to leave.  Abawi does show the horrors of what Tareq goes through really well, but part of me just wanted more of his life before.  I think that’s just my preference, though.

One interesting thing about this book is that the book is narrated by destiny.  It made me think of The Book Thief, and if you liked that book, you’ll like this book.

Unfortunately, destiny as a narrator didn’t work for me, and it made me feel so distant from what was going on. It’s already something that seems so far away, and the narrator didn’t particularly help.  Plus, it seemed random, and you’d be in Tareq’s world, and suddenly, you’d have a paragraph or longer section narrated by destiny.  It took me out of the story, which is unfortunate, because Tareq’s story is a really important one.

3 stars.  I liked A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes, and the title is so fitting for the story, but I also didn’t love it.  It’s an important story, and I still recommend it.

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