With the lights flickering and the generator sputtering at my home in Gaza, tonight I finished Pamela Olson’s book, Fast Times in Palestine – A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland. (2013: Seal Press)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I hope the author’s book tour in the USA which begins this month (March 2013) is a big success. This is Olson’s first book, but not her last. She is reportedly already writing #2.
Olson graduated from Stanford University and felt lost. So she saved up her pennies bartending and decided to travel. She found herself in the Middle East. Her book chronicles the 2 years she lived in Ramallah, working and writing for an online journal – Palestine Monitor – and serving as foreign press coordinator for Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi’s 2005 presidential campaign.
She climbed olive trees during the harvest season (so have I); she drank many cups of tea while experiencing Palestinian hospitality (so have I); she experienced the brutality of Israeli checkpoints (I have not); and she learned a tremendous amount about the Israeli occupation of Palestine (I have too).
Olson’s clear and engaging writing style draws the reader along on each step of her journey. I have only visited the West Bank once (2004) but now I feel I’ve returned. And I hope many Americans (and readers around the world) who may never have a chance to visit Palestine themselves, will catch a glimpse through Olson’s eyes and heart.
She mixes humor with heart-wrenching sadness as she describes Palestine today. Readers will also learn a good bit about the history of the occupation, and some of the key figures involved in this history.
How did she manage to put so much into this “little” book? Read it and find out for yourself. Olson is blogging here.