Title:The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism
Author: Deborah Baker
Genre: Nonfiction, Historical fiction (you’ll see)
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Source: Copy provided by publisher for BOOK CLUB
This book disappointed me. And kept disappointing me over and over again. The topic is interesting: how Margaret Marcus, a Jewish girl from New York, becomes Maryam Jameelah, a devout Muslim living in Pakistan. And the style was interesting: alternating Margaret/Maryam’s letters with background information. But then I kept reading.
At first, I really enjoyed the letters and I only took issue with the in-between sections because the author inserted herself and her personal thoughts into them. But then the letters got less interesting. And then, we learn that the letters aren’t even authentic. Since the author explained that she came across the letters in the New York Public Library, I think it was natural for me to think they were the real letters. Turns out the author edited them. And rewrote them. And you don’t find out until AFTER you’ve read the entire book. That problem is compounded by the unreliability of Margaret/Maryam in her letters to begin with.
If her story is interesting, this book did not do it justice.
[Note: I am using the mini-review format while I am away. Full length reviews will return in July.]