The Flavor of Cultures – Book Review

The Flavor of Cultures is written by Weam Namou, a Baghdad-born Christian who came to America at the age of ten. Namou has written three books to date, one a collection of poems and two non-fiction books as a part of her book series shedding light on the Iraqi American culture. She also writes for several local newspapers and her works have been published by both national and international publications. She is a journalist, filmmaker, and the cofounder of IAA (Iraqi Artists Association).

The story in this book revolves around the life of a young woman named Mervat, a Christian girl born in Iraq as a minority who moves to America at the age of two. Being of Iraqi origin, Mervat faces a number of troubles trying to acclimate to the American way of life. She watches her friends live in the American way while she stubbornly clings onto the Middle Eastern traditions yearning for the courage to follow her own path.

Later in life, Mervat meets Johnny who is a potential match for her, but he too brings with him a series of complications and their relationship faces challenges.

Namou does a good job through the main character. Iraq is a Muslim country with time-honored traditions. In sharp contrast, America is a Christian country with new traditions, and even those aren’t strictly observed. It’s interesting reading about how people feel and what they experience when they come here. Weam Namou writes about the American Chaldean community that she was born in with love and a subtle sense of humor. The author is successfully changing the stereotypical beliefs of the American community through her writings regarding the Middle East, and The Flavor of Cultures is another great example. In short, a well-written, correctly paced, engaging social adventure.

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