The inside book cover description of A Girl Made of Dust by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi reads... 'Set in a Christian village in Lebanon during the 1982 Israeli invasion and narrated with candid intensity by a bright-eyed eight year old girl, A Girl Made of Dust explores one family's private battle to survive in the midst of civil war'.
The deciding factor in me even reading this book was that the author herself was just an eight year old girl, much like her character Ruba, during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by Israel. Nathalie Abi-Ezzi and her family made the move to England in 1983 and this novel, written in 2008, is her first.
You may come away from this book having learned more about Lebanon and some of the atrocities that have been experienced there... but probably not... because this story is told through the eyes and the understanding of a child. When Ruba first sees the Israeli helicopters she views them as horrible giant flying insects and her whole life is lived around the concern she has about the people that she cares about most ... her daddy, her mother, her brother, grandmother and uncle - and her newly found friend who never speaks.
The book begins before the invasion, yet the unrest of the region has already taken an emotional and moral toll on Ruba's family and sets Ruba on a quest for self-deliverance through superstitious customs and misguided religious dogma. She wants healing for her father so that he can once again take charge of the family and work again so as to lessen the strain upon her mother. She wants her brother to once again play with her and take her into his confidence instead of becoming distant and involved with boys who shoot real guns.
If nothing else, this book highlights the tender ideals and longings of every child's heart, no matter where their home may be...