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Zeitoun exceeds expectations

September 6, 2011

By Hailey Silvey, Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: “Zeitoun” was chosen as this year’s book for Young Harris College’s “Ship of Thought” program, which requires all incoming first-year students to read and discuss a common book as part of their introduction to the academic community at YHC.

When I was assigned to read Zeitoun as part of my job as a START orientation leader, I was not very thrilled. As a matter of fact, I was dreading it.  I started reading the book so I could get the assignment over with, but, upon beginning the book, Zeitoun began to pleasantly surprise me.

Zeitoun is set in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina. The book is written in a way that goes day by day, which engages the reader and draws you into the story.

The book is about Abdulrahman Zeitoun, an immigrant from Syria who worked as a painter in New Orleans. Upon hearing the announcement that everybody in the city needs to evacuate, Zeitoun chooses to stay. He chooses to ride out the hurricane in order to make sure that his property is safe.

After the hurricane, Zeitoun paddles around flooded New Orleans with his canoe. The book follows him as he rescues people from their homes and takes care of various things.

Despite his efforts, Zeitoun is arrested with very little grounds and is held in a prison with very poor conditions. The book describes the horror that prisoners during Hurricane Katrina faced. The book details events that were not spoken about in the news media, and gives the reader an insight into things that were kept from the general public.

Zeitoun is a very powerful book. Throughout the book, I felt a wide range of emotions, from incredibly happy to pure rage. Zeitoun will open your eyes to events that you never knew occurred. This book has the power to make you feel completely sick about how people were treated in such terrible ways. However, if you would like to experience exactly what I’m talking about, you’ll have to go read the book for yourself.

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