"My Fatima" is a historical novel for young adults and older readers. It describes the friendship between two teenage girls, one from Germany, and the other from the Middle East. Both girls attend a girls school in Beirut, Lebanon in the 1960s. The German girl, Trudy is the daughter of the ambassador to Jordan, while the schoolmate she admires and befriends is a Palestinian named Fatima. It turns out Fatima's boyfriend, Ali, is a PLO militant. Just before graduating from middle school, Trudy is kidnapped by Ali's team. Ali is killed in that incident, and Trudy is kept under Fatima's watch. Although Fatima is deeply saddened by her true love's death, she remains loyal to Trudy and manages to bring Trudy to safety. The story develops into a tragedy that bears out the important point that the world needs peace, not wars.
Ms. Lin does an outstanding job at capturing the fascinating details of Beirut on the brink of turmoil. And she does so all the while from the compelling perspective of a young girl first opening her eyes to the greater world. The narrator's journey is our own education, a teaching that goes beyond history, geography, and politics by venturing into the affairs of the heart. Amazing. (Dennis Myers)
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2019
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This delightful book is a rich tapestry of historical events. As I read I’d marvel at the wealth of information being so understandably presented. If Lydia Lin wrote my history text books in school, I most certainly would’ve excelled in history classes! This is such a fun read that will broaden your horizons. (Amazon Customer)
One part young adult journey, one part fictional memoir, one part historical fiction, My Fatima is a plot driven portrayal of a group of kids finding their way in the world while making sense of the culture in which they live. Characters are well developed, fun to get to know, and memorable in each their own right. The setting of Lebanon is warmly drawn. (Customer)
"Set in Jordan and Lebanon in 1966, Lydia Lin's novel My Fatima covers the developing conflicts of the Middle East, seen through the eyes of a young West German schoolgirl. Although dimly aware of the complex political background which surrounds her, Trudy's interests are focussed mainly on the multi-national school she attends, the companions she meets there and the development of her first deeply emotional relationship beyond her family.
Directed at the teen and young adult reader, the pace of the narrative is completely appropriate for the content and presents interesting and engaging material. The narrative style also suits the subject, without being too simplistic. The main character is particularly well-defined, her perceptions adding a piquant dimension to the accounts of her daily routine and her tourist experiences. Many of the secondary characters also are vibrant and alive, often carrying the theme of the regional political confrontations to come. The novel is generally well-constructed and builds firmly towards the single climax when Trudy, by default, becomes directly involved in her best friend's nationalistic affiliations. My Fatima by Lydia Lin draws a reader's attention, opens a door slightly into the ordinary lives of people in the Middle East and offers an enjoyable reading experience in general." - Reviewed By Judith Rook for Readers' Favorite