“My Fatima” is a historical novel for young adults and older readers. It describes the friendship between two teenage girls, one from Germany, and the other from the Middle East. Both girls attend a girls school in Beirut, Lebanon in the 1960s. The German girl, Trudy is the daughter of the ambassador to Jordan, while the schoolmate she admires and befriends is a Palestinian named Fatima. It turns out Fatima’s boyfriend, Ali, is a PLO militant. Just before graduating from middle school, Trudy is kidnapped by Ali’s team. Ali is killed in that incident, and Trudy is kept under Fatima’s watch. Although Fatima is deeply saddened by her true love’s death, she remains loyal to Trudy and manages to bring Trudy to safety. The story develops into a tragedy that bears out the important point that the world needs peace, not wars.
Set in Jordan and Lebanon in 1966, Lydia Lin’s novel My Fatima covers the developing conflicts of the Middle East, seen through the eyes of a young West German schoolgirl. Although dimly aware of the complex political background which surrounds her, Trudy’s interests are focussed mainly on the multi-national school she attends, the companions she meets there and the development of her first deeply emotional relationship beyond her family.
Directed at the teen and young adult reader, the pace of the narrative is completely appropriate for the content and presents interesting and engaging material. The narrative style also suits the subject, without being too simplistic. The main character is particularly well-defined, her perceptions adding a piquant dimension to the accounts of her daily routine and her tourist experiences. Many of the secondary characters also are vibrant and alive, often carrying the theme of the regional political confrontations to come. The novel is generally well-constructed and builds firmly towards the single climax when Trudy, by default, becomes directly involved in her best friend’s nationalistic affiliations. My Fatima by Lydia Lin draws a reader’s attention, opens a door slightly into the ordinary lives of people in the Middle East and offers an enjoyable reading experience in general.
~ Judith Rook for Readers’ Favorite
About Lydia Lin
Lydia Lin has lived in a number of different countries throughout her childhood and youth. Although her educational background is in science and technology, she enjoys reading, writing, music, painting and gardening. Fascinated by ancient Chinese medicine, she has also taken a training course in acupuncture. Lydia believes that an important part of education is to enlighten people, to help them realize their potentials, and to enable them to appreciate and preserve all that is good about humanity.
Visit Lydia Lin’s website.