On My Bookshelf: Till We Say Goodbye by Nahum Siva

June 23, 2015

This is a sponsored post. I received this product for free in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.

Basic plot: In this based on a true story "family novel," the narrator, Nahum tells of his family's past and present. Born in Iraq, but raised in Israel, Nahum shares the adventures of his childhood, his mandatory time in the Army, various occupations, and his family's struggle with his only sister's illness. The novel begins with a flashback into his parents' past, a fortune teller's predictions that sadly come true in the end. The novel is not told in chronological order, but rather weaves episodes from throughout Nahum's life with the difficulties the family faces in coping with his sister's illness. Despite the sadness of his sister's death, the novel ends with a joyous birthday celebration for Nahum's mother, attended by generations of his family, and a touching note from the hospital staff who cared for his sister.

Why I liked it: The novel was an interesting look into a part of the world and time period I know little about. Learning about traditions and customs of Jews and Arabs through Nahum's stories was interesting. he also shared some very humorous events from his childhood. One evening, he and a gang of friends startle a man sleeping outside to escape the heat of his house. During a day at the nearby sea, one friend encourages the others to jump into the freezing waters, all the while telling them how warm it is. On a day in town, the friends place a brick inside a cardboard box and wait for a passerby to kick it. I could easily picture these mischievous boys and their antics made me laugh.

Classroom application: The writing style of the novel would not make for a good mentor text; the narrator jumps around from present to different points in the past, sometimes without any apparent connection. However, excerpts of the book might be interesting to share in a history class as students study different cultures, particularly the descriptions of working on kibbutzes and Nahum's mandatory service in the army.

I received a Kindle copy of this book for free. Click here to check it out on Amazon.

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