Teaching Arabs, Writing Self: Memoirs of an Arab-American Woman
Evelyn Shakir's witty, wise, and beautifully written memoir explores her status as an Arab American woman, from the subtle bigotry she faced in Massachusetts as a second-generation Lebanese whose parents were not only foreign but eccentric, to the equally poignant blend of dislocation and homecoming she felt in Bahrain, Syria, and Lebanon, where she taught American literature to university students.
She effortlessly combines personal anecdote with cultural, political, and historical background, and is incapable of stereotyped thinking: one of the book's many pleasures is the diversity she finds among the people she encounters in the Middle East, including not only students, but cab drivers, storekeepers, and the guys who make the spinach pies at the bakery down the street from her apartment. As Shakir explores her own identity, she leads the reader to an appreciation of the richness and complexity of being Arab American (or any mixed heritage) in an increasingly small world.
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