Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Promised Land by Michael T. Darkow

A "Promised" Heartfelt Story
  review by: Beverly Pechin for Review The Book

My biggest problem with finding the words to "review" this book was that I didn't want to scare anyone off. I'm not sure if it's unfortunate or fortunate that words like "heart wrenching" and "intricate" quickly come to mind but there's no way around it, this book is both. The characters are so intense that you feel as though you must pay close attention to who they are and where they fit in; later to find that they simply fall into place and all connect at some point. The story line is so intense and deep that you cannot walk away from reading this book without questioning man's mindset and ease to hate.

The story begins in nearly what we would think of as mankind as "the beginning". A poor shepherd saves the life of a Prince, and so the story begins and carries on through the generations of lives of the Jews and later, those who live in Israel/ Palestine.

Many of us think we know and understand the trials and tribulations of those who have lived and died in the Middle East. Israelites and Palestinians have fought for what seems a lifetime of lifetimes for a land they feel is theirs, but in the end we rarely know or understand the beginnings or the people behind the battles. We see torment, death, hatred and so much more that overwhelms the true stories beneath the battles... until now.

While the work of Darkow is one of fiction, there is no question that it is based on many facts and uncovering of families involved throughout the years in this part of the world. From the story of a war torn Germany and it's flight of Jews back to their "homeland" to the almost recognizably similar fight seen from the other side of the battle, the Palestinians, against the Jews. What set me aback the most was the very distinct likeness that these two groups of people seemed to battle, yet never realize the similarities of their ethnicity intertwine only to find hatred.

The hardest part of the book is the amount of characters who vary from place to place, time to time, family to family & generation to generation. At first it may seem overwhelming, but once you realize you should just read and they will fall into place it all settles into your mind and comes together like pieces of an intricate puzzle. I don't say this to put off any would-be readers, but instead to enlighten them not to be put off by the quick introduction to many names and faces, sometimes overwhelming you but in the end all just falling into place. Any good author has the ability to do this with a group of characters yet few are able. Darkow's talent to easily pull each and every character into place is recognized by any reader to be not only a "must" in such an intricate story but a talent not to be overlooked.

What hit me the hardest with this book is the ironic twist of stories, intertwining literally exact stories of being treated like animals instead of humans yet each forgetting their own mistreatment as they mistreat others almost in the same way. The lack of humanity, the true grit of hatred overcoming any remote inkling of human kindness makes you not only ache deep within for what has gone on and continues to go on in this region of the world but question mankind himself and how they can sometimes be so quick to forget.

This story hits hard. It rings of so much truth you have to remind yourself that it's a work of fiction. It hits so hard that you realize we, as humans, may have be able to love without hatred interfering in our hearts. Simply put, Darkow has managed to bring a piece of the world that so many of us thought we understood or knew and put us into the reality that we haven't a clue what our own hearts can do or become. The best part? Perhaps in the end some of us can become what we are meant to be, "human", instead of what we have become. Perhaps there is a hope, even for a part of the world that seems to have always functioned with hatred surrounding it.

On a 5 Star Scale.... OUR PROMISED LAND rates at 4 1/2 Stars!