By Sophia Al-Maria
“When Sophia Al-Maria's mother sends her away from rainy Washington State to stay with her husband's desert-dwelling Bedouin family in Qatar, she intends it to be a sort of teenage cultural boot camp. What her mother doesn't know is that there are some things about growing up that are universal. In Qatar, Sophia is faced with a new world she'd only imagined as a child. She sets out to find her freedom, even in the most unlikely of places.
Both family saga and coming-of-age story, The Girl Who Fell to Earth takes readers from the green valleys of the Pacific Northwest to the dunes of the Arabian Gulf and on to the sprawling chaos of Cairo. Struggling to adapt to her nomadic lifestyle, Sophia is haunted by the feeling that she is perpetually in exile: hovering somewhere between two families, two cultures, and two worlds. She must make a place for herself—a complex journey that includes finding young love in the Arabian Gulf, rebellion in Cairo, and, finally, self-discovery in the mountains of Sinai.”
“… Matar (Sophia's father) agreed to a trade-off with Gale (Sophia's mother): in exchange for a simple nondenominational ceremony, Gale would quietly convert to Islam and raise their children as Muslims. In the end, the marriage consisted of a civil ceremony performed by a notary public in the kitchen of the farmhouse, and later that evening when the newlyweds were alone, a private circumnavigation of a lilac bush in the backyard.”
The Girl Who Fell to Earth: A Memoir
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