13 April 2012

Sarah Glidden's How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

Recently, I dropped into a comic book store that specialized in indie comics. I felt bad about spending so much time in there and not buying anything, so I picked up Sarah Glidden's How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less. It's about a young Jewish woman going on the Birthright tour to Israel. The tour is meant to expose expat Jews to their homeland and culture.

I enjoyed it for its thoughtfulness and the personal nature of the work. One of the best graphic novels I've read in a long time. There is a similar tour sponsored by the Taiwanese government, nicknamed "The Love Boat." Surprisingly, I found a lot to relate to in Glidden's novel despite not knowing much about Jewish culture. I identified strongly with the struggle to decide "what side you're on", whether or not to agree with the politics of your homeland. Maybe it's not surprising. One of my family friends said that there's a lot of similarity between Chinese and Jewish culture, which is why many Chinese-Americans and Jewish-Americans marry.

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