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Margery al Chalabi
Like Two Saplings: A Memoir
Our complete immersion in one another, our yin to one another's yang, and our ultimate growing together, like two saplings, into one great tall tree. It was our greatest strength, this intertwining. In the early 1960's two recently-graduated architects, from very different cultures and continent's, traveled to Greece to continue their educations as urban planners. The ancient City of Athens had long served as a bridge between the East and West. Attraction, between Margery and Suhail grew slowly; but irresistibly. And, at the end of their three years of study and work they added two graduate degrees, a marriage, and an all-encompassing partnership that would grow, evolve and deeper over fifty years. Suddenly, at the height of their highly-regarded careers, and a satisfying and rewarding lifestyle, their happy lives were upended. Suhail's chronic leukemia had become acute. This memoir recounts the following year of dread and hope; the feverish trips between hospital and home; and the trip to Dallas for the treatment that could kill off the lethal strain of leukemia threatening Suhail's life. Tender and smart, Like Two Saplings is a memoir of captivating romance, a hectic year of uncertainty, ping-ponging between hope and fear - interspersed with recollections of long-ago beginnings, exotic travels and vacations, landmark accomplishment and events, and the closeness of colleagues, family, and friends. This is an unflinching look at love facing death. Filled with e-mails to family and friends chronicling her husband's treatments, prognoses and plans, and testimonials from colleagues, family and friends. Margery captures the intimate details of the way in which Suhail faced death with the same courage, resoluteness, and grace, with which he lived his life.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: A moving memoir that follows a relationship across time and space, highs and lows, and health and sickness, Like Two Saplings will make readers feel like they personally knew Margery and Suhail al Chalabi.

Prose: This memoir is written in a digestible style, although the number of letters and emails included in the text, while interesting, can occasionally overwhelm the narrative.

Originality: Al Chalabi pens a memoir that provides space to celebrate the life of her late husband and their life together.

Character Development/Execution: Throughout the book, readers are provided with a deepening sense of the personalities of Margery and Suhail, as well as their shared relationship.

Date Submitted: November 15, 2021