Coming to Astoria is about an Arab boys journey from the Middle East to America. The story begins with the grandparents, a Palestinian family whose simple lifestyle is turned upside down by the Arab-Israeli wars. Forced to leave their home, they search for a safe environment, only to end up in the refugee camps of Jordan. Their eldest son and his family find peace and safety in America, settling in Astoria, New York.
The story continues with the grandson, who struggles to fit in, and his experiences as he moves across the United States.
Coming to Astoria is at times amusing, sad and informative, as the Arab culture is brought to life through the eyes of Omar, when he goes back to Jordan, hoping to reconcile with his family after the death of his father, only to drift further away.
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Not Your Typical Story
I read this book in no time. This is not a book of the stereo type Muslim man. I like many Americans are used to what we see on TV and Movies, the Muslims from “The Shahs of Sunset” and the terrorist in movies, all stereo typical types. This book is a complete 180 degrees from what I expected. It’s the story of a young man who slowly realized the old way was NOT, for him, the right way, so he decides to change it. The book reads almost like the narrator from the film “A Christmas Story”, it comes from the voice of an innocent, and you can almost hear him come of age.
As a baby boomer this book took me back to the day when wooden scooters, metal skates, the 5 and 10 cents store, etc. was in. I didn’t want the book to end. Finally, the author comes of age and tells you how the changes he made to adopt the American way of life made him the man he turned out to be.
I enjoyed the book very much and recommended highly.
I loved it!
I loved this book. It put me into the time and place with an immigrant family, and specifically with Omar. It's amazing what parents and children took for granted just a short while ago, and how much children did together before video games and the internet were around.
I've never been on a train, but reading Omar's account of it made me feel I was riding along side him.
The book made me laugh at times. I pictured the look on eleven year old Omar's face when he tried to pass himself off as 'David Smith', before he realized that it was a poor choice.
Seeing everything that Omar and his family went through made me happy for what I have, even if it's not much.