Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family

Najla Said, Riverhead Books, 2013

This is a fascinating story of a woman who was the daughter of a Lebanese mother and a Palestinian father. She was born and raised in New York, but growing up she never felt that she belonged. Her parents were very sophisticated people. Her father was a famous professor at Columbia and recognized around the world for his scholarship. She found her “place” as an actress. For several years now she has been doing a one-person performance of her own story. She has discovered that many young people struggle with the same issues she experienced. She and her family visited Lebanon many times where there was a large family of her mother’s. She ultimately came to feel at home in Beirut as much or more than she felt in New York.

I found this book particularly interesting because of our current political situation. How she found her “place” was truly remarkable. Most of us have engaged in a search for place but without the tensions she experienced. Her courage and determination in finding her path is inspiring.

—Bernie Turner, retired pastor, McMinnville, OR