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Jerusalem Spring: Fares Aoun

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I like it when an author highlights an issue and makes it very clear to the reader.  The  book is set in the 1960's, the reader finds him/herself viewing a segregated prison.  Two prisoners, numbers 13 and 12, have just been brought in with a group of new prisoners.  The prisoners are overcrowded, the new prisoners, 13 and 12, never receive the food they are promised. 
The warden and his wife, two people one might think the author would decide to make "mean characters", are actually the opposite.  The wife and warden treat everyone the same regardless of race.  The wife wants to leave the South permanently, unbeknownst to her the husband has already started this process.  The warden is a bit of a softie, but he "reigns himself in" after a fire and kitchen fight break out.  I was surprised that the previously peaceful warden treated the prisoners who were not the instigators so harshly.  Joe, an inmate who receives books and even discusses possible college courses with the warden, is shocked as well.  The story continues with further development of the characters and the plot. 
The author is attempting to draw a parallel between the racial situation in the 1960's South and the current situation in the Middle East with the Palestinians.  The writing is a little uneven and I had a hard time transitioning from the first part to the second (I think it was the same characters who confused me).  This book left me with a lot of questions and the intense desire to research the situation (I knew a little about already) on the Internet.  I think this is a wonderful read and would recommend it to young adults/adults alike.  The meaning is crystal clear and the author does a great job portraying the situation in the Middle East with the Palestinians.