Sunday, August 26, 2012

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Yet another school book done! Three down, one to go, and one week of summer left L! Anyway, Zeitoun by Dave Eggers was one of the better ones that I have had to read for school, but it didn’t exactly blow me out of the water.

            Abdulrahman Zeitoun was born in Syria, one of many Muslim children. After a life on the sea, he decided to settle down in New Orleans. With his wife, Kathy, and his four children, he lived happily, owned a well-known contracting business, and was quite prosperous until the night that Hurricane Katrina hit. Kathy, her son, and three daughters escaped the storm, but Zeitoun insisted that he stay to protect the house. It wasn’t the storm that was so bad; it was the aftermath. Suspicious of everything that moved, the police arrest Zeitoun and his three friends on the charges of looting. Sent to a makeshift prison at a Greyhound station, and then a high-security prison, Zeitoun suspects that he was arrested for more than just looting. Completely hopeless and without any form of contact to the outside world, will Zeitoun be released? Or will he serve a long sentence in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit?

            Being a book for school, I didn’t expect much from Zeitoun. Sure, the subject is important, but I didn’t expect the delivery to be entertaining. There were times when this book was enjoyable, but there were also times when it was incredibly slow.

            One thing that I didn’t like was that the time skipped back and forth. One second, the story would be progressing, and the next it is telling you about something that happened in Zeitoun’s past; and it didn’t always connect with the current situation. I found that it distracted from the story, but it did help the readers to better understand Zeitoun and get a glimpse of his past.

            The thing that I hated the most was the ending. It was so BORING. I literally zoned out for most of the last 30 pages. I honestly couldn’t tell you what those last pages said. I couldn’t even give you a clue, because I don’t even have a clue. It was some political jargon that didn’t seem all too important to the story line, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Another thing I hated? DOGS DIED. That isn’t really a spoiler because that is not at all what this book is about, but that’s important to me. I love dogs and Zeitoun sees at least 20 dead dogs. But I was happy about Zeitoun’s concern about the animals.

            What I liked most about Zeitoun was Zeitoun himself. Being real people, the characters cannot be credited to the author. However, I thought that Zeitoun seemed like a really nice guy. His wife and kids seemed like good people, as well. Their whole family was the best part of this book because they were awesome.

            I think it’s really strange that what happened to Zeitoun happened just seven years ago. There are color pictures of it and everything. I read Unbroken this summer as well, and I could compare some of what happened to Louis Zamperini to what happened to Zeitoun (and some of the things he saw). It just seems so bizarre that the same inhumane treatment could happen in 2005 as in the 1940’s. Also, they still live in the same house and they still have their contracting business, which I think is awesome because I’ve never read a nonfiction book where the “characters” are still alive, or one that happened so recently, too.  I think it’s cool that I could actually go and see them and their house if I really wanted to. (Which would be kind of creepy if I did that. Don’t worry; I’m not a creeper. Heh. Heh.)

This book was powerful, but slightly boring. 3 1/2 Smileys!

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