Top critical review
21 people found this helpful
Could have been much better
on 14 December 2009
I was looking forward to reading this book, I love the concept of comic journalism the writer tries to create, and I'd like to read more comic books on serious topics in this style.
Yet, I didn't enjoy the book. It's overly autobiographical, not in terms of personal revelations but of trivial everyday things and self-conscious dialogues which lead to the recurrent theme of "oh my god, how challenging, things aren't black and white, what they show us in the west is only part of the truth". It's not that I disagree with this theme (and if anything, I probably share many of the author's biases), it's just that the moral is given too crudely, as if the author was a naive American teenager returning from his first trip abroad and saying it all to his innocent and slightly nerdy friends.
The language doesn't help either. There are too many words wasted (in an art form which relies on word economy and succinctness). A couple of examples... On Israeli women being admitted to the army: "takes the edge off for an aesthete like me and as an international jet-setter with an opportunity, if not a mandate, to compare such things, I'd place Israeli women way high in the global hot looks sweepstakes". On a smoking young soldier immediately after: "and what about the boys? Oh la la! He's doing a welcome to Marlborough country, even I am pressing my legs together!". On a middle age woman photographing above Israeli soldier: "betcha she's never had beefcake like this on her Fujicolor".
Generally, I found the history parts incomplete and sparse, the personal travel stories predictable and uninteresting, and the light-hearted, "fun" parts (like the above quotes) unfunny and juvenile. In fairness, I know basic stuff about the conflict and peoples, and I take for granted some of the things that the author tries to express, perhaps I'm not in the right target group.