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Reviewed by Judith Rook for Readers' Favorite
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 focused 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.